Prescribing Patterns of Antihypertensive Medications in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Systematic Review

Asia Pac J Public Health. 2021 Jan;33(1):14-22. doi: 10.1177/1010539520965280. Epub 2020 Oct 21.


Hypertension is highly prevalent, but its pharmacological management has not been well evaluated in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). This review examined the prescribing patterns of antihypertensives in LMICs. Data were extracted from a total of 26 studies spanning the time period 2000 to 2018. In 10 studies, calcium channel blockers (CCBs) were the most frequently prescribed medication for managing hypertension (range = 33% to 72%); in six studies, renin angiotensin system (RAS) blockers (range = 25% to 83%); in five studies, diuretics (range = 39% to 99%); and in five studies, β-blockers (BBs; range = 26% to 49%) were the most commonly prescribed antihypertensive medications. Prescribing sedatives and sublingual administration of captopril for controlling hypertension was also reported in 3 studies. Only 10 studies presented their findings in light of national or international guidelines. This review calls for further antihypertensive utilization and dispensation studies and a better understanding of clinician's perception and practice of hypertension management guidelines in LMICs.

Keywords: antihypertensives; hypertension; low- and middle-income countries; prescribing patterns; systematic review.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Developing Countries*
  • Drug Prescriptions / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / drug therapy*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'*


  • Antihypertensive Agents