Blood pressure drugs may extend life even for frail, older people

Research we're watching

Published: September, 2020

Frail, older people with health problems may live longer if they take the blood pressure medications their doctors prescribe, according to a study published in the August 2020 issue of the journal Hypertension.

Previous research suggests that in general, older people benefit from blood pressure drugs. But trials usually don't include people with multiple medical conditions, because those health problems make longevity findings challenging to interpret.

The new study relied on data from nearly 1.3 million people ages 65 and older who had three or more prescriptions for blood pressure medication in 2011 and 2012. Over the next seven years, researchers tracked the percentage of people who continued taking the medications.

Compared with people who didn't take their blood pressure drugs regularly (less than 25% of the time), those who took their pills more than 75% of the time were less likely to die during the study. Those who started in good health were 44% less likely to die, but even those who were in poor health saw a benefit: they were 33% less likely to die.

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