Antihypertensive Medication Adherence and Confirmation of True Refractory Hypertension

Academic Article


  • Refractory hypertension (RfHTN) is a phenotype of antihypertensive treatment failure defined as uncontrolled BP despite the use of effective doses of ≥5 antihypertensive medications including a long-acting thiazide-like diuretic (chlorthalidone) and a mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist. The degree of medication nonadherence is unknown among patients with RfHTN. In this prospective evaluation, 54 patients with apparent RfHTN were recruited from the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hypertension Clinic after having uncontrolled BP at 3 or more clinic visits. All patients' BP was evaluated by automated office BP and 24-hour ambulatory BP monitoring (n=49). Antihypertensive medication adherence was determined by measuring 24-hour urine specimens for antihypertensive medications and their metabolites by high-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (n=45). Of the 45 patients who completed 24-hour ambulatory BP monitoring, 40 (88.9%) had confirmed RfHTN based on an elevated automated office BP (≥130/80 mm Hg), mean 24-hour ABP (≥125/75 mm Hg), and mean awake (day-time) ABP (≥130/80 mm Hg). Out of the 40 fully evaluated patients with RfHTN, 16 (40.0%) were fully adherent with all prescribed medications. Eighteen (45.0%) patients were partially adherent and 6 (15.0%) had none of the prescribed agents detected in their urine. Of 18 patients who were partially adherent, 5 (12.5%) were adherent with at least 5 medications, including chlorthalidone and the mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist, consistent with true RfHTN. Of patients identified as having apparent RfHTN, 52.5% were adherent with at least 5 antihypertensive medications, including chlorthalidone and a mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist, confirming true RfTHN. These findings validate RfHTN as a rare, but true phenotype of antihypertensive treatment failure.
  • Published In

  • Hypertension  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 22546549
  • Author List

  • Siddiqui M; Judd EK; Dudenbostel T; Gupta P; Tomaszewski M; Patel P; Oparil S; Calhoun DA
  • Start Page

  • 510
  • End Page

  • 515