Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Chemistry and Pharmacology
Summary Based upon regional drug sales statistics, two Norwegian counties with a consumption of hypotensives below and two above average were selected for a prescription study among general practitioners (GPs). The first part of the study involved collection of all the GPs' prescriptions for antihypertensive treatment during the month of October 1975. Immediately afterwards the GPs filled in a questionnaire in which they described their diagnostic and therapeutic criteria and procedures for arterial hypertension. Both parts of the study were analysed and compared. Of the GPs approached 154 (54%) participated. A total of 4095 prescriptions for 3253 patients were collected, 65% of whom were females and 35% were males. GPs alone treated 72% of the patients, and of the others 11% had been referred to specialists, 8% had been admitted to hospital, and 5% had had both procedures. The decision of whether or not to start drug treatment was based upon absolute systolic and diastolic BP levels as related to age, but various other patient factors, such as complicating diseases, family history of cardiovascular disease and cooperation/motivation for treatment, were also considered. The average control interval was 4.4 months (range 1 to more than 6 months) and it increased with the age of the patients. About half of the GPs started drug treatment in young patients with beta-blockers, whereas diuretics were preferred for older subjects. Of the total number of prescriptions, diuretics accounted for 50%, synthetic hypotensives (α-methyldopa, hydralazine, guanethidine etc.) for 33%, and beta-blockers for 17%. The therapeutic efficacy, in terms of BP reduction upon drug treatment, was evaluated in relation to age, both in those patients treated solely by GPs and in those referred to a specialist. Patient compliance and adverse drug reactions were also registered, although with considerable variation between the individual participating GPs. During postproject discussions, the GP-participants stated that this type of project was a valuable model for post-graduate training through testing of individual criteria for diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.
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