NICE lowers BP treatment threshold

Many thousands more people are set to receive treatment for hypertension following publication of new draft guidance from NICE.

The revised guideline recommends that antihypertensive drugs should be given to people aged under 80 with a diagnosis of stage 1 hypertension who have a 10% or greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease within the next 10 years. Current NICE guidance recommends treatment at risks 20% and over. A majority of those who fall in this group are men and it estimated that over 200 000 more men could be treated.

Anthony Wierzbicki, Consultant in metabolic medicine/chemical pathology and Chair of the Guideline Committee, says: ‘A rigorous evaluation of new evidence has resulted in updated recommendations around when to treat raised blood pressure that have the potential to make a real difference to the lives of many thousands of people with the condition’. 

According to NICE over the last decade progress has been made to improve the diagnosis and management of hypertension: the average blood pressure in England has fallen by about 3mmHg systolic and the proportion of adults with untreated high blood pressure has decreased.

The draft guideline supports the direction of the NHS Long Term Plan to improve outcomes in cardiovascular disease, including preventing strokes and heart attacks, through better detection and treatment of high blood pressure.

The draft guideline is open for public consultation until 23 April 2019. Final guidance is expected to be published in August 2019.

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