Objective: To quantify the relative risk reductions achieved with different regimens to lower blood pressure in younger and older adults.
Design: Meta-analyses and meta-regression analyses used to compare the effects on the primary outcome between two age groups (<65 v > or =65 years). Evidence for an interaction between age and the effects of treatment sought by fitting age as a continuous variable and estimating overall effects across trials.
Primary outcome: total major cardiovascular events.
Results: 31 trials, with 190 606 participants, were included. The meta-analyses showed no clear difference between age groups in the effects of lowering blood pressure or any difference between the effects of the drug classes on major cardiovascular events (all P> or =0.24). Neither was there any significant interaction between age and treatment when age was fitted as a continuous variable (all P>0.09). The meta-regressions also showed no difference in effects between the two age groups for the outcome of major cardiovascular events (<65 v > or =65; P=0.38).
Conclusions: Reduction of blood pressure produces benefits in younger (<65 years) and older (> or =65 years) adults, with no strong evidence that protection against major vascular events afforded by different drug classes varies substantially with age.