Management of antihypertensive drugs in three European countries

Federica Nicotra, Björn Wettermark, Miriam C. Sturkenboom, Andrea Parodi, Rino Bellocco, Anders Ekbom, Luca Merlino, Andrejs Leimanis, Giuseppe Mancia, Michael Fored, Giovanni Corrao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives To compare rates of treatment discontinuation of and changes in initial antihypertensive drug therapy in the natural setting of treatment dispensation of Italy, Sweden and the Netherlands. Methods The cohorts included all the 23 715 (Italy), 20 289 (Sweden), and 5801 (the Netherlands) patients aged 40-70 years who received their first antihypertensive drug prescription from July 1, 2006 to September 30, 2006. Discontinuation was assumed if no antihypertensive drug was issued within 90 days following the end of the latest antihypertensive dispensation. Addition or replacement of the initial medication during the 90-day interval were defined as treatment combination or treatment switching. Results At 9 months after treatment initiation, the discontinuation rate of any antihypertensive drug was 24%. Compared with Italian patients, the discontinuation rate was significantly lower in Swedish [hazard ratios: 0.52, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.50-0.54] and Dutch patients (hazard ratio: 0.79, 95% CI: 0.75-0.84). Almost 21 and 16% of patients who started on monotherapy respectively combined with and switched to another antihypertensive drug. Compared with Italian patients, the adjusted hazard rate of combining was lower in Swedish patients (hazard ratio: 0.83, 95% CI: 0.79-0.87). The hazard rate of switching was lower in Swedish and Dutch patients than in Italians (hazard ratios: 0.83, 95% CI: 0.79-0.88 and hazard ratio: 0.77, 95% CI: 0.71 -0.84 respectively). Conclusion Management of hypertension is unsatisfactory worldwide due to a very high rate of treatment discontinuation or insufficient use of proper treatment strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1917-1922
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Hypertension
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2009


  • Antihypertensive agents
  • Competing risks
  • Cumulative incidence
  • Drug compliance
  • Record linkage
  • Therapy changing
  • Treatment discontinuation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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