To compare two drug regimens to treat resistant hypertension.
In a prospective, randomized, open blinded endpoint study, 167 patients with mean baseline daytime ambulatory blood pressure 135 mmHg or more and/or 85 mmHg or more, despite 4 weeks’ treatment with irbesartan 300 mg/day, hydrochlorothiazide 12.5 mg/day and amlodipine 5 mg/day, were randomized to sequential nephron blockade (group 1, n = 85) or sequential renin–angiotensin system blockade (group 2, n = 82). First, spironolactone 25 mg/day in group 1 or ramipril 5 mg/day in group 2 were added for 4 weeks. Treatment was increased at weeks 4, 8 or 10 if home blood pressure was 135 mmHg or more and/or 85 mmHg or more by sequentially administering furosemide 20 mg/day, furosemide 40 mg/day and amiloride 5 mg/day in group 1, or ramipril 10 mg/day, bisoprolol 5 mg/day and bisoprolol 10 mg/day in group 2. The primary endpoint was change in systolic daytime ambulatory blood pressure at week 12.
At week 12, the mean between-group difference in daytime ambulatory blood pressure was 10/4 mmHg (95% confidence interval: 7–14/2–7; P < 0.001/P = 0.0014) in favour of the group 1. The blood pressure goal (daytime ambulatory blood pressure <135/85 mmHg) was achieved in 58% in the group 1 and 20% in the group 2 (P < 0.0001). Discontinuation for drug-related adverse events was low (group 1, n = 7; group 2, n = 6).
In patients with resistant hypertension, sequential nephron blockade induces a large and well tolerated reduction in blood pressure via a progressive increase in sodium depletion, and is more effective than sequential renin–angiotensin system blockade.