Improvements in prescribing medications for hypertension results in better outcomes and cost savings

prescription) and the highest total spending ($17 million); ACE inhibitors were the second costliest class ($10.5 million). Beta-blockers were the most commonly prescribed antihypertensive drug, but average cost ($15.62) and total spending ($8 million) were lower than for ACE inhibitors or calcium channel blockers. Thiazides (diuretics) were among the least expensive medications ($5.33 per prescription) but accounted for only 4.3 percent of prescriptions."

"Adherence to evidence-based prescribing guidelines for hypertension could result in substantial savings in prescription costs for elderly patients with hypertension that would amount to savings of about $1.2 billion annually," the authors suggest. "Identification of similar areas in which prescribing can be improved will be critical for the affordability of prescription drug benefit programs," they conclude. (JAMA. 2004;291:1850-1856. Available post-embargo at JAMA.com)


Contact: Melanie Franco
JAMA and Archives Journals

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