Antihypertensive drug therapy and blood pressure control in men and women: an international perspective

J Hum Hypertens. 2010 May;24(5):336-44. doi: 10.1038/jhh.2009.76. Epub 2009 Oct 1.


Cardiovascular death represents the single largest cause of mortality in women with 70% of deaths attributable to modifiable risk factors, such as hypertension. This analysis aims at evaluating, whether there are gender disparities in antihypertensive drug usage and blood pressure (BP) control. We included 18 017 patients with arterial hypertension from the International Survey Evaluating Microalbuminuria Routinely by Cardiologists in patients with Hypertension (I-SEARCH). The study was conducted between September 2005 and March 2006 in 26 countries, and data on patient demographics, cardiovascular disease and risk factors, BP, and cardiovascular drug treatment were collected. Mean systolic blood pressure (SBP) was 2.1 mm Hg higher in women (150.6+/-0.35 mm Hg, n=8357/18 017) than in men (148.5+/-0.35 mm Hg; P<0.0001, n=9526/18 017), whereas no difference in diastolic BP was seen (88.2+/-0.20 vs 88+/-0.20 mm Hg; P=0.198). Gender differences in SBP were more pronounced in diabetic as compared with non-diabetic patients (3.5 vs 1.7 mm Hg, n=4272 vs n=13 611; P<0.0001) and became evident at an age 55 years old. Overall BP-control rate was 33.6% in men and 30.6% in women (P<0.0001) and was lower in diabetic as compared with non-diabetic patients. In all, 30% of patients used one, 40% used two and 30% used > or = 3 drugs without gender differences. Response rates to different drug regimens appeared to be similar. However, women received more frequently thiazides and beta-blockers, and less frequently ACE-inhibitors as monotherapy. Major efforts are required to improve BP-management, especially in women.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Aged
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Antihypertensive Agents / pharmacology
  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Blood Pressure* / drug effects
  • Blood Pressure* / physiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / drug therapy*
  • Hypertension / physiopathology
  • International Cooperation*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Characteristics*
  • Thiazides / pharmacology
  • Thiazides / therapeutic use


  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Antihypertensive Agents
  • Thiazides