Characteristics, drug combinations and dosages of primary care patients with uncontrolled ambulatory blood pressure and high medication adherence

J Am Soc Hypertens. 2013 Nov-Dec;7(6):471-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jash.2013.06.004. Epub 2013 Jul 23.


Most studies on the prevalence and determinants of resistant hypertension (RH) do not account for white coat hypertension, medication non-adherence, or use of suboptimal treatment dosages. We studied the characteristics, drug combinations, and dosages of patients on at least three antihypertensives of different classes who had uncontrolled blood pressure on 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring and high medication adherence measured by electronic monitoring. The data were collected as part of the baseline measures of a hypertension control trial. Of 140 monitored primary care patients, all with uncontrolled office blood pressure, 69 (49%) were on at least three antihypertensives of different classes. Of these 69, 15 (22%) were controlled on ambulatory blood pressure monitoring, 20 (29%) were uncontrolled and non-adherent, leaving only 34 (49%) adherent to their medications and having uncontrolled ambulatory hypertension (uncontrolled RH). Thirty-one (91%) of the 34 uncontrolled RH patients were prescribed a diuretic, of which 24 were on hydrochlorothiazide 25 mg. Less than half of the patients on angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor, angiotensin receptor blocker, or calcium channel blocker were prescribed maximal doses of these agents. Half of the RH can be attributed to white coat effect and poor medication adherence, and all of the remaining patients were on apparently suboptimal drug combinations and/or dosages. Primary care physicians need to be educated regarding the optimal treatment of RH.

Keywords: Resistant hypertension; drug dosage; electronic monitoring; medication adherence; white-coat hypertension.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Blood Pressure Monitoring, Ambulatory
  • Calcium Channel Blockers / therapeutic use
  • Diuretics / therapeutic use
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Resistance
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / diagnosis
  • Hypertension / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Medication Adherence*
  • Middle Aged
  • Primary Health Care / methods*
  • White Coat Hypertension / diagnosis
  • White Coat Hypertension / drug therapy*


  • Antihypertensive Agents
  • Calcium Channel Blockers
  • Diuretics