Drug Res (Stuttg) 2013; 63(05): 217-223
DOI: 10.1055/s-0033-1337930
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Resistant Hypertension: Underlying Causes and Treatment

M. S. Sarwar
1   Department of Pharmacy, Noakhali Science and Technology University, Sonapur, Bangladesh
M. S. Islam
1   Department of Pharmacy, Noakhali Science and Technology University, Sonapur, Bangladesh
S.M. E. Al Baker
2   Cardiology, Laksham Upazilla Health Complex, Comilla, Bangladesh
A. Hasnat
3   Department of Clinical Pharmacy & Pharmacology, University of Dhaka, Dhaka, Bangladesh
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

received 16 January 2013

accepted 14 February 2013

Publication Date:
22 March 2013 (online)


Resistant hypertension (RH) is defined as failure to achieve goal blood pressure while receiving a 3 drug regimen at optimal doses that includes a diuretic. The exact prevalence of resistant hypertension is unknown which may vary from 5% to 50%. Patient or clinician-related factors contributing to resistant hypertension include patient’s non-adherence to antihypertensive therapy, White-coat effect and pseudo-hypertension and life style factors (Obesity, alcohol, smoking, dietary sodium etc). Several drugs may induce pre-existing hypertension where non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are usually the most common due to their frequent use; whereas oral contraceptives, sympathomimetics (decongestants, anorectics), adrenal steroids and antineoplastic drugs targeting the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) pathway has a good deal of contribution to resistant hypertension. Most common secondary causes of resistant hypertension are obstructive sleep apnea, renal artery stenosis, renal parenchymal disease, and primary aldosteronism while some uncommon causes such as pheochromocytoma, Cushing’s disease, thyroid and parathyroid dysfunction; and aortic coarctation also contribute to resistant hypertension. Both pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments are available for the management of resistant hypertension. This article reviews the prevalence, symptoms, causes and treatment of resistant hypertension.

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