Hypertension has emerged as the most important risk factor for cardiovascular diseases in India. Improved practice in the management of hypertension depends on an understanding of existing patterns of treatment.
A better understanding of doctors prescribing drugs and their outcomes could assist in targeting education and their other interventions to improve the management of hypertension.
Objective: Understanding doctors drug prescribing patterns for hypertension
A total of 105 doctors participated in the survey – General practitioners (51%), Diabetologists (37%), Others (12%)
- When asked the first line of therapy prescribed for hypertension, 24% of the doctors stated angiotensin II receptor blockers and calcium channel blockers, followed by ACE inhibitors (23%) and beta-blockers (15%)
- Most of the doctors (39%) stated that they prescribe calcium channel blockers as a second-line of therapy, while 18% prescribe beta-blockers
- The majority of the doctors (45%) encountered diabetes as the most common comorbidity while treating hypertensive patients
- 36% of doctors recommend salt reduction as a management option other than medications, followed by physical activity (30%), monitoring blood pressure regularly (18%) and maintaining a healthy weight (16%)
- When the doctors were asked how often they recommend their patients for a follow-up, 42% stated it depends on the clinical situation, while 34% stated between 1-4 weeks
- In our survey, most of the patients were reported to be on monotherapy; however, a rationale combination therapy or dose adjustment is required for the effective management of hypertension. The protective measures suggested by doctors to control hypertension included salt intake reduction, increased physical activity, monitoring blood pressure, weight management, and regular patient follow-up
A tool should be introduced where the patients can self-manage their hypertension which can give them insights, nutritional knowledge, motivation, and an understanding to help them adhere to their treatment plan.
To this day, further studies are necessary to set up a rationale or pattern for the choice of medication; taking into consideration the comorbidities and demographics of the patients.
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