August 15, 2012

WHERE ARE THE DEATH PANELS WHEN WE NEED THEM?:

Most People Who Take Blood Pressure Medication Possibly Shouldn't (Jeanne Lenzer, Aug. 14, 2012, Slate)

A new study is turning decades of medical dogma on its head. A panel of independent experts reports this week that drugs used to treat mild cases of high blood pressure have not been shown to reduce heart attacks, strokes, or overall deaths.

Most of the 68 million patients in the United States with high blood pressure have mild, or Stage 1, hypertension, defined as a systolic (top number) value of 140-159 or a diastolic (bottom number) value of 90-99. The new review suggests that many patients with hypertension are overtreated--they are subjected to the possible harms of drug treatment without any benefit.  

The study was conducted by the widely respected Cochrane Collaboration, which provides independent analyses of medical data. The "independent" part is important: The panelists who conducted the analysis don't take money from drug companies.

Posted by at August 15, 2012 9:01 AM
  

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