Little evidence is available on whether antihypertensive treatment lowers cardiovascular risk in white-coat hypertension (WCH). Protection might be indirectly inferred, however, from the blood pressure (BP) effects of treatment as in trials BP reduction is linearly related to outcome reduction. We analyzed the effect of antihypertensive treatment on office and ambulatory BP in WCH using data from the Plaque HYpertension Lipid-Lowering Italian Study (PHYLLIS).
: Office and ambulatory blood pressure were measured in 470 hypertensive patients randomized to fosinopril or hydrochlorothiazide alone or combined with a statin before treatment and at 6 month or yearly intervals during 2.6 years of follow-up. Patients were divided into two groups according to whether before randomization to treatment office and 24-h mean BP were elevated (sustained hypertension) or office BP was elevated but 24-h BP values were normal (WCH).
: In both sustained hypertension and WCH antihypertensive treatment was associated with an early marked office BP reduction, which persisted virtually unchanged throughout the treatment period. In contrast, 24-h (and day and night) BP showed a marked and persistent treatment-related fall in sustained hypertension but no change in WCH. The results were similar when data were separately analyzed in patients under fosinopril or diuretic, with or without statin treatment.
: In WCH, antihypertensive treatment can effectively and durably reduce office BP. This reduction is accompanied by the inability to lower ambulatory BP from the normal values characterizing this condition at baseline. This appears to be unrelated to the type of treatment employed.