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Keywords:

  • antihypertensive drugs;
  • blood pressure;
  • hypertension;
  • pre-hypertension

People with pre-hypertension (high blood pressure but below the conventional threshold for intervention with antihypertensive drugs) undoubtedly have increased risk of cardiovascular and other complications. However, the vast majority has low absolute risk and whether treatment would be beneficial is uncertain. While pharmacotherapy has attractions from a public health perspective, clinicians and crucially those with pre-hypertension require robust evidence that drug treatment will lead to short term as well as long term gains. Any changes in recommendations should await adequately powered outcome studies which provide solid evidence of the magnitude of absolute risk reduction in treating pre-hypertension and assessment of the cost-effectiveness.