Author(s): Adigun AQ, Ishola DA, Akintomide AO, Ajayi AA
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Abstract The current prescription patterns for essential hypertension and the efficacy, safety, tolerability and cost-effectiveness of the newer antihypertensive drugs were evaluated in Nigerian patients. The findings were compared with that of a previous study conducted in the same tertiary hospital 10 years earlier. A cross-sectional evaluation of blood pressure (BP) control in a hypertension clinic was undertaken among 150 Nigerian patients aged 61 +/- 12 years (55\% females), with a duration of treatment on a particular drug class or combination of 9 +/- 3 months. The initial blood pressure was 176 +/- 20/108 +/- 11 mmHg and 22\% of the patient had concurrent diabetes mellitus. Thiazide diuretics (D) alone or in combination remained the most commonly prescribed drugs in 56\% of all patients. There were significant increases in the prescriptions of calcium channel blockers (CCBs) (51\%), P < 0.0001, and ACE-inhibitors (ACEIs) (24\%), P < 0.0001, but a slight reduction in the use of methyldopa, and fixed drug combinations (P < 0.01) compared to the previous study. The fall in systolic blood pressure on D (r = 0.65, P < 0.001) or CCB (r = 0.48, P < 0.02) was significantly correlated with the initial systolic blood pressure, but not age. More patients achieved normotension BP < 140/90 mmHg on CCB monotherapy (71\%), than D monotherapy (56\%). Combination therapy with ACEIs + D or methyldopa+thiazides normalized BP in 63 and 68\%, respectively. Pulse pressure, a surrogate marker for cardiovascular complications and mortality in essential hypertension, was significantly reduced (P < 0.01) equally by all treatments, with 95\% confidence intervals ranging from -28 to -1 mmHg. However, hypertensive-diabetic (HT-DM) patients (n = 33) exhibited no significant change in pulse pressure in response to treatment. Adverse drug reactions that occurred in 11\% were impotence or postural dizziness with D, headache and pitting oedema with CCB, and dry cough with ACEI. Pharmaco-economic comparison of the drug classes revealed that for every US dollar (dollar) spent per month, the percentage of treated patients attaining normotension was 18.6 for D, 4.73 for CCB, 3.5 for ACEI + D and 13.6 for methyldopa + thiazides. A combination of ACEI + CCB or D was the preferred treatment for hypertensive-diabetic Nigerians, but only 24\% attained a BP < 130/85 mmHg. These results demonstrate a shift in trend to a more rational and efficacious treatment of hypertension over a 10 year period. This may be associated, at least in part, with the intensive and continuous education of the prescribers in rational drug use and the introduction of a hospital formulary. Methyldopa is still a highly efficacious and cost-effective drug in this population. Black HT-DM Africans still constitute a subgroup who not only require more and costlier antihypertensive drugs, but whose BP control is suboptimal, and exhibit a poor therapeutic response to other risk factors (pulse pressure) that constitute a continuing risk for cardiovascular mortality.
This article was published in J Hum Hypertens
and referenced in Journal of Clinical Research & Bioethics