Antianxiety Treatment May Help Lower BP

JANUARY 01, 2006

In a report published in the American Journal of Hypertension, researchers in Israel suggest that patients experiencing an episode of highly elevated blood pressure (BP), also called "acute hypertensive crisis [AHC]," could benefit from antianxiety treatment.

According to Ehud Grossman, MD, of the Chaim Sheba Medical Center in Tel-Hashomer, many patients who have hypertension that is regularly controlled with medication may experience an episode of AHC.

Therefore, researchers conducted a study of 36 adults seen in the emergency room for AHC. The patients all had a BP >190/100 mm Hg. They were randomly assigned either 5 mg oral diazepam or 25 mg sublingual captopril and then monitored for heart rate and BP every hour for 3 hours. Both treatments reduced BP significantly and similarly and were well tolerated. In the diazepam group, BP levels fell from 213/105 mm Hg to 170/88 mm Hg, and from 208/107 mm Hg to 181/95 mm Hg in the captopril group.