Mild control of systolic blood pressure (SBP), in which SBP is maintained at less than 150 mmHg, is adequate for people aged 65 years and older, according to a systematic review published online ahead of print by the journalDrugs & Aging.

Senior author David S. H. Lee, PharmD, PhD, and fellow investigators analyzed findings from 31 studies on the use of antihypertensive agents in persons aged 65 years and older with a diagnosis of hypertension.

They found that these patients had lower cardiovascular morbidity and mortality with antihypertensive treatment than without. However, Lee’s team determined that strict control, in which SBP is maintained at less than 140 mmHg, offered no more benefit than did mild control in this older population. 


Although treatment of hypertension with medication is important to help prevent myocardial infarction, kidney disease, and stroke, the researchers pointed out that antihypertensive agents can have side effects that increase with higher dosages.

“There’s clearly a value to controlling blood pressure enough to keep it at 150 or less,” pointed out Lee in a statement accompanying the release of the study results. “But as people get older, there’s less clear evidence that stringent control of systolic blood pressure is as important.”