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It’s accepted as an article of faith that if you have high blood pressure it should be treated. A recent study reported in JAMA brings that into question. Actually, I think the situation is more complicated than the press is making it out to be. Here’s the deal.

the study looked at people in Canada being treated for high blood pressure with a particular class of drugs – beta blockers. A commonly prescribed example of a beta blocker is metaprol, but there are lots of others.

Over time, the researchers did not find that treatment with these drugs reduce the rate of stroke, heart attacks or other serious issues. This cause and without the efficacy of treating with such medications.

One problem with this study is that it was retrospective. Another issue, and it’s a big one, is that many other studies have shown that beta blockers are the best drugs to treat high blood pressure with anyway. In the US beta blockers a much less commonly used for high blood pressure treatment than they once were.

However, if you are taking a beta blocker now it’s important that you don’t stop without talking to your physician. Your body adapts to taking a medication over time and suddenly stopping it could cause serious problems.

You can find out more about the JAMA report here: