Diabetes and hypertension, the deadly duet: importance, therapeutic strategy, and selection of drug therapy

Cardiol Clin. 2005 May;23(2):139-52. doi: 10.1016/j.ccl.2004.06.006.


Large, placebo-controlled RCTs that involve only diabetic patients who have hypertension have not been performed. Subgroup analyses of hyper-tension control from several recent RCTs un-equivocally demonstrated greater benefit in diabetic populations (see Table 3) with ACE inhibitors, TDs, and CCBs. Treatment with fBs(atenolol) also was beneficial in diabetic patients who had hypertension in the actively-controlled UKPDS. The results of three RCTs support intensive BP control in diabetic patients (see Table 4). In these trials, diabetic patients gained more benefit than nondiabetic patients. Such an effect is consistent with the fact that diabetics are at higher risk for CV events. Although there are limited data from RCTs with head-to-head comparison of newer agents (eg,ACE inhibitors, ARBs, CCBs) to show that these drugs are better than diuretics and betaBs in reducing CV events by treating hypertension in the diabetic population, the available data support ACE inhibitors (and ARBs if ACE inhibitors are not tolerated) as an initial drug of choice in diabetic,hypertensive patients (see Table 5). Most diabetic patients require three or four drugs to control their BP to target range; as such, it is not necessary to justify the choice of any single class of drug. Tight BP control is cost-effective and is more rewarding than hyperglycemic control in diabetic,hypertensive patients. The optimal goal in diabetics should be to achieve BP that is less than 130/80 mm Hg. Appropriate action should be taken if BP is greater than 140/85 mm Hg. In subjects who have diabetes and renal insufficiency,the BP should be decreased to less than 125/75 mm Hg to delay the progression of renal failure. Limited data suggest that an ACE inhibitor or an ARB is the agent of choice, especially in patients who have proteinuria or renal insufficiency. betaBs can be the first-line agent in diabetics who have CAD. TDs and CCBs are the second line drugs.AAAs should be avoided. Most hypertensive patients require more than one agent to adequately control their BP. There is no evidence to support one combination regimen over the others, nevertheless, the combination of an ACE inhibitor with a TD or a fPB may be more beneficial and cost effective than other combinations in the diabetic population. Large outcome studies that compare different combination therapies in hypertensive,diabetic patients are needed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic alpha-Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Benzothiadiazines
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Calcium Channel Blockers / therapeutic use
  • Captopril / therapeutic use
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / drug therapy*
  • Diuretics
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / drug therapy*
  • Sodium Chloride Symporter Inhibitors / therapeutic use


  • Adrenergic alpha-Antagonists
  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Benzothiadiazines
  • Calcium Channel Blockers
  • Diuretics
  • Sodium Chloride Symporter Inhibitors
  • Captopril