Elderly people `over-treated` for high blood pressure: Study

Updated: Dec 23, 2009, 00:00 AM IST

London: The treatment for high blood
pressure in elderly patients have been too aggressive that may
do them more harm than good, says a new research.

After examining available data of blood pressure
patients aged 80 and more in the UK, scientists at Cochrane
Collaboration found that the octogenarians are being given too
many drugs and in too large doses.

The guidelines in the UK and the US recommend that
people over 80 should receive the same blood pressure
treatment as people of any other age. This means using
combinations of drugs to reach a target blood pressure of
140/90 mmHg.

But Dr James Wright, head of the Cochrane research
group, said: "Clinicians should change what they are presently
doing and move towards a more conservative approach for the
over 80s. I have done so with my patients."

His review of existing studies, including data from
two new trials which looked specifically at the effect of
blood pressure drugs in this age group, found little evidence
that aggressive treatment saves more lives, the BBC reported.

Although fewer patients died of strokes, the total
number of deaths from all causes was unchanged.

Based on the findings, Wright suggested a target blood
pressure of 150/80 mmHg is more sensible, and said doctors
should not be worried if only half of their most elderly
patients achieve it.

The only trial that found a significant reduction in
overall mortality was the most conservative in terms of number
of drugs and dose of drugs allowed.