Pediatric antihypertensive trial failures: analysis of end points and dose range

Hypertension. 2008 Apr;51(4):834-40. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.107.108886. Epub 2008 Mar 10.


Historically, drugs prescribed for children have not been studied in pediatric populations. Since 1997, however, a 6-month extension of marketing rights is granted if manufacturers conduct Food and Drug Administration-defined pediatric trials. In nearly half of the drugs studied, there were unexpected results in dosing, safety, or efficacy compared with adult studies, including failure of half of the antihypertensive dose-response trials, which are pivotal for deriving dosing recommendations. We sought to define design elements that might have contributed to these trial failures by combining patient-level data from 6 dose-ranging antihypertensive efficacy trials completed for pediatric exclusivity and submitted to the Food and Drug Administration from 1998 to 2005. We evaluated dosing, primary end point, and other components to assess underlying reasons for failure to show efficacy in children. Of 6 trials examined, 3 showed a dose response; 3 did not. Eligibility criteria were similar across studies, as were subject demographics. Successful studies showed large differences in doses, with little or no overlap between low, medium, and high doses; failed trials used narrow dose ranges with considerable overlap. Successful trials also provided pediatric formulations and used reduction in diastolic, not systolic, blood pressure as the primary end point. Careful attention to pediatric pharmacology and selection of primary end points can improve trial performance. We found poor dose selection, lack of acknowledgement of differences between adult and pediatric populations, and lack of pediatric formulations to be associated with failures. More importantly, our ability to combine data across trials allowed us to evaluate and potentially improve trial design.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Antihypertensive Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Body Weight
  • Child
  • Databases, Factual / statistics & numerical data
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / drug therapy*
  • Hypertension / epidemiology
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic / standards*
  • Treatment Failure
  • United States
  • United States Food and Drug Administration / statistics & numerical data*


  • Antihypertensive Agents