Self-reported side-effects of antihypertensive drugs: an epidemiological study on prevalence and impact on health-state utility

Blood Press. 2000;9(6):328-34. doi: 10.1080/080370500300000905.


The aim in this study was to assess the frequency and type of self-reported side-effects among hypertensives in a general population, and to estimate the relationship between drug use and side-effects and health utility using the Rating Scale (RS) method. The study is based on a postal questionnaire that was sent to a random sample of 8000 inhabitants aged 20-84 years (response rate 68%) in Uppsala County, Sweden, in 1995. The results showed that nearly 20% of the users of antihypertensive drugs reported side-effects. Men and women reported side-effects to nearly the same extent. In the linear regression analyses, those with hypertension, with or without medication, rated lower health utilities (-6.0 and -7.1 respectively) than did normotensives after controlling for age and sex. The lowest value, -8.7, was found among drug users who experienced side-effects. Side-effects causing impotence and emotional distress, i.e. insomnia, tiredness and depression had the strongest negative impact on health utility. To conclude, the study showed that side-effects among hypertensives are common. Both the disease and the drug treatment adversely affect the patient's well-being. However, drug treatment was of less importance than that found in prior studies. The findings here stress that side-effects should be taken into greater consideration when evaluating drug treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antihypertensive Agents / adverse effects*
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / complications
  • Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Hypertension / psychology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years
  • Regression Analysis
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden / epidemiology


  • Antihypertensive Agents