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High Blood Pressure - Channel Blockers and Diuretics Better than Beta Blockers According to NHS

June 28th 2006

High Blood Pressure - Channel Blockers and Diuretics Better than Beta Blockers According to NHS


The National Health Service (NHS) of England and Wales says that patients should not be prescribed beta blockers for the treatment of high blood pressure (hypertension).  They say other drugs are better at treating the condition, citing the increased risk for developing Diabetes. 

The newer drugs are more effective at protecting patients from heart attacks and strokes, according to the BBC.  The NHS said there is no need to make a special trip to the general practitioner (GP), but the treatment should be reviewed at your next visit. 

This is a “major shake-up” according to Reuters, and will change the way doctors are being advised to treat high blood pressure.  They say GPs will no longer offer drugs called beta blockers as a first treatment for the high blood pressure. 


The National Institute for Health and Clinical Evidence (NICE) issued the new advice in conjunction with the British Hypertension Society following a review of the treatments available.   They advise prescribing newer drugs that carry less risk. 

Patients over the age of 55 and black people should be prescribed calcium channel blockers or diuretics.  Patients under 55 should be prescribed ACE inhibitors.  According to Professor Bryan Williams at the University Hospitals NHS Trust in Leicester, this should lead to a "significant reduction" in stroke and heart disease over the next five years, at the same time saving the NHS around 250 million pounds in treatment costs.


He added, "What we have found is that although beta blockers remain effective at reducing stroke and heart disease, they are slightly less effective than alternative forms of treatment."

According to both Reuters and the BBC, high blood pressure affects around 40 percent of adults in England and Wales.  Reuters reported that the National Health Service spends 15 percent of its drug budget on treatments for this condition.

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Dan Wilson
Best Syndication

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