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J Gen Intern Med
Department of Medicine, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI, USA
BACKGROUND: Young adults with hypertension have the lowest prevalence of controlled blood pressure compared to middle-aged and older adults. Uncontrolled hypertension, even among young adults, increases future cardiovascular event risk. However, antihypertensive medication initiation is poorly understood among young adults and may be an important intervention point for this group.
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to compare rates and predictors of antihypertensive medication initiation between young adults and middle-aged and older adults with incident hypertension and regular primary care contact.
DESIGN: A retrospective analysis PARTICIPANTS: Adults ≥ 18 years old (n = 10,022) with incident hypertension and no prior antihypertensive prescription, who received primary care at a large, Midwestern, academic practice from 2008-2011.
MAIN MEASURES: The primary outcome was time from date of meeting hypertension criteria to antihypertensive medication initiation, or blood pressure normalization without medication. Kaplan-Meier analysis was used to estimate the probability of antihypertensive medication initiation over time. Cox proportional-hazard models (HR; 95 % CI) were fit to identify predictors of delays in medication initiation, with a subsequent subpopulation analysis for young adults (18-39 years old).
KEY RESULTS: After a mean follow-up of 20 (±13) months, 34 % of 18-39 year-olds with hypertension met the endpoint, compared to 44 % of 40-59 year-olds and 56 % of ≥ 60 year-olds. Adjusting for patient and provider factors, 18-39 year-olds had a 44 % slower rate of medication initiation (HR 0.56; 0.47-0.67) than ≥ 60 year-olds. Among young adults, males, patients with mild hypertension, and White patients had a slower rate of medication initiation. Young adults with Medicaid and more clinic visits had faster rates.
CONCLUSIONS: Even with regular primary care contact and continued elevated blood pressure, young adults had slower rates of antihypertensive medication initiation than middle-aged and older adults. Interventions are needed to address multifactorial barriers contributing to poor hypertension control among young adults.
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