Hypertension Update: Resistant Hypertension.
Resistant hypertension is a blood pressure (BP) level that remains above the goal level despite adherence to at least three appropriately dosed antihypertensive drugs of different classes, one of which is a diuretic. Evaluation of suspected resistant hypertension starts with confirming adherence to the drug regimen. White coat hypertension should be ruled out with out-of-office BP level measurements, ideally using 24-hour ambulatory BP monitoring. Obesity, significant alcohol intake, and interfering drugs and other substances can contribute to resistant hypertension. Lifestyle modifications, including exercise and dietary sodium restriction, can be useful in management. Resistant hypertension may be due to secondary etiologies (eg, parenchymal kidney disease, obstructive sleep apnea, hyperaldosteronism). Adequate diuretic treatment is a key part of therapy. In addition to a diuretic, patients with resistant hypertension should take a dihydropyridine calcium channel blocker and an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor or angiotensin II receptor blocker. Spironolactone is an effective fourth drug. Other drug options include a beta blocker, a long-acting nondihydropyridine calcium channel blocker, or clonidine or guanfacine. When the BP level is not controlled despite adherence to a four-drug regimen, referral to a hypertension subspecialist should be considered.
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