By Nigel Praities
GPs should audit their patients with hypertension to ensure they have tested for any biochemical disturbances, say experts after a study showed only a third were being tested after being put on antihypertensives.
The retrospective study analysed UK general practice data from 74,000 patients newly diagnosed with hypertension and prescribed treatment.
They found only 36% of these patients were given any biochemical test within six months of beginning their blood pressure treatment.
The study – published early online by the journal Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety – found patients given a lab test were more likely to discontinue treatment and be admitted to hospital, with many of the biochemical disturbances discovered only detectable after a full lab check.
The authors of the study concluded the current arrangement of testing for electrolyte disturbances and renal function had limited benefits and that there should be a more ‘rational’ scheme for testing recently-diagnosed patients with hypertension.
‘Monitoring identified a group of patients with biochemical adverse reactions who were at increased risk of adverse outcomes. There is a need for rational schemes for monitoring adverse drug reactions, based on good evidence,’ the paper concludes.
Professor Mike Kirby, professor of health and human sciences at the University of Hertfordshire and a GP in Radlett, said although the data analysed in the study was from 2003, it was still relevant.
‘It is being done more now, but it is worth highlighting that this is the kind of thing that should alert practices to do an audit.’
‘It is critically important for every hypertensive you should know kidney function and blood glucose,’ he said.
GPs have been advised to audit their patients with hypertension to ensure they have been tested for any biochemcial disturbances GPs have been advised to audit their patients with hypertension to ensure they have been tested for any biochemcial disturbances