Background: Withdrawing medications that interfere with blood pressure (BP) is recommended in patients with uncontrolled BP, yet real-world use of such agents is not well characterized among individuals with hypertension. We aimed to evaluate the use of BP-interfering prescription medications among US patients with hypertension.
Methods: This retrospective drug utilization study used medical and prescription claims (January 2008 to December 2014) in the MarketScan commercial claims database. We included adults, aged 18-65 years, with a hypertension diagnosis (International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, code 401) and ≥1 antihypertensive medication fill. Two hypertension cohorts were examined-new antihypertensive drug users (incident hypertension) and patients requiring titration to a fourth antihypertensive (incident treatment-resistant hypertension [TRH]). Patient-level exposure to BP-interfering medications was assessed 6 months before and after the index date, defined as the first prescription fill of an antihypertensive drug or the first occurrence of overlapping use of ≥4 antihypertensive drugs.
Results: We identified 521,028 patients with incident hypertension and 131,764 patients with incident TRH. The most prevalent BP-interfering prescription medications were nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), acetaminophens, and hormones. Overall, 18.3% of the incident hypertension cohort and 17.6% of the incident TRH cohort initiated a BP-interfering medication following antihypertensive titration. Among patients previously taking a BP-interfering medication, 57.6% with incident hypertension and 64.9% with incident TRH refilled that medication after antihypertensive intensification.
Conclusions: The use of prescription BP-interfering medications, especially NSAIDs, is prevalent among patients requiring intensification of their antihypertensive regimen. Greater efforts to limit the use of these medications, where feasible, may be required among patients with uncontrolled hypertension.