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Objective: Deprescribing of antihypertensive medications is recommended for some older patients with polypharmacy and frailty. The OPTIMISE trial showed that this can be achieved without affecting blood pressure control at 3-month follow-up. This longer-term follow-up study aimed to examine the impact on serious adverse events (SAEs), mortality and cardiovascular disease (CVD) outcomes after at least 3 years. Design and method: Participants aged 80 years or older, with systolic blood pressure <150 mmHg, and receiving at least 2 antihypertensive medications were randomised (1:1) to a strategy of antihypertensive medication reduction (removal of one antihypertensive) or usual care. Participants were followed-up via their primary and secondary care electronic health records, at least 3 years after randomisation. The primary outcome was SAEs, defined as hospitalisation or death from any cause. Secondary outcomes included mortality, stroke, myocardial infarction and major CVD events. Analyses were undertaken using Cox proportional hazards modelling. Results: Among 569 randomised participants (intervention=282; control=287) with a mean age 85 years (276 [48.5%] women), 564 (99.1%) were followed-up for a median of 3.9 years. Medication reduction was sustained in 109 participants (52.7% of those alive in the intervention group) at 3 years. Participants in the intervention group were prescribed fewer antihypertensives than the control group (mean difference -0.35, 95%CI -0.52 to -0.18). Overall, 202 (72.1%) patients in the intervention group and 218 (76.8%) patients in the control group experienced SAEs during follow-up (adjusted HR 0.93, 95%CI 0.76-1.12). There was no evidence of a difference in mortality (aHR 0.81, 95%CI 0.58-1.13), stroke (aHR 0.91, 95%CI 0.40-2.06), myocardial infarction (aHR 0.86, 95%CI 0.42-1.77) or CVD events (aHR 1.00, 95%CI 0.68-1.46). Conclusions: Medication reduction was sustained in half of those attempting it, with no evidence of harm from SAEs, mortality or CVD after almost four years. These findings suggest that deprescribing antihypertensive medication is safe in older patients living in the community with controlled blood pressure.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Hypertension


Ovid Technologies (Wolters Kluwer Health)

Publication Date





e109 - e110