Slowing the Return of Hypertension After Stopping Medication

Frank A. Finnerty Jr, MD
JAMA. 1985;254(4):503. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03360040053008.
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To the Editor.—  Langford and associates1 have conclusively demonstrated that dietary sodium restriction and weight reduction in the obese patient delay the return of hypertension after discontinuation of medication following five years of controlled blood pressure. The lack of necessity for daily lifelong therapy (the concept of intermittent rather than continuous therapy) gives the patient with mild hypertension a much brighter outlook. It not only spares him the possibility of potential harmful side effects and saves money, but also provides him with objective evidence of his improvement.Why wait for five years to discontinue therapy? Recent data have shown that controlling the blood pressure for six months permitted discontinuation of therapy with chlorthalidone in 36 (53%) of 67 patients with mild hypertension.2 These patients were specifically asked not to change their dietary habits so the effect of discontinuing medication on the blood pressure could better be evaluated. They


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