The JNC 7 Approach Compared to Conventional Treatment in Diabetic Patients With Hypertension: A Double-Blind Trial of Initial Monotherapy vs. Combination Therapy

J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich). 2004 Aug;6(8):437-42; quiz 443-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-6175.2004.03488.x.


The JNC 7 states that persons with blood pressure (BP) more than 20/10 mm Hg above goal should be started on combination drug therapy. This criterion includes patients with BP >160/100 mm Hg and diabetics with hypertension. The goal BP for persons with diabetes mellitus is <130/80 mm Hg. A randomized, double-blind trial force titrated initial combination therapy utilizing an angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB) combination (losartan/hydrochlorothiazide [LOS/HCTZ]) compared with an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor (ramipril), for 8 weeks, and tested the hypothesis that combination therapy is more likely to achieve goal BP vs. monotherapy. At 4 weeks, 30.5% of LOS/HCTZ and 14.4% of ramipril recipients achieved goal diastolic BP (p<0.001). More participants achieved goal systolic BP in the ARB/HCTZ group at 4 weeks (29.8% vs. 14.4%; p<0.001). At 4 weeks, mean diastolic BP had decreased 10.2+/-7.4 mm Hg in the LOS/HCTZ group compared with 6.4+/-6.8 mm Hg in the ramipril group (p<0.001), and systolic BP had fallen 15.4+/-13.1 mm Hg in the ARB/HCTZ compared with 9.2+/-10.2 mm Hg in the ACE-inhibitor group (p<0.001). Significant differences favoring the combination were also noted at 8 weeks. Drug-related adverse experiences were 10.3% for the combination compared with 12.7% for the monotherapy group. Initial combination therapy with an ARB/HCTZ was more effective than ACE-inhibitor monotherapy in achieving BP goals in participants with diabetes with no significant differences in the incidence of adverse experiences. These observations confirm other studies of combination therapies, such as b blocker/diuretic, ACE inhibitor/diuretic, or ACE inhibitor/calcium channel blocker. The use of two medications will achieve goal BP in more patients than monotherapy. This observation is important in treatment of high-risk patients with diabetes.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrochlorothiazide / therapeutic use*
  • Hypertension / complications
  • Hypertension / drug therapy*
  • Losartan / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ramipril / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Antihypertensive Agents
  • Hydrochlorothiazide
  • Losartan
  • Ramipril