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Trusts block choice over BP drugs

17th August 2006

30062006_NurseBloodPressure1.jpgIn a direct challenge to the new NICE guideline GPs are being barred a choice of first-line treatments for hypertension by some primary care organisations(PCOs).

An investigation published in Pulse indicates that 55 per cent of PCOs aim to restrict GPs to use of diuretics as main first-line drugs, though NICE gives calcium channel blockers equal billing.

Pulse says that a third of these have released local guidance giving the impression of being in line with NICE while omitting calcium channel blockers as a first-line option. In many cases, local bulletins reported that NICE advised diuretics first-line without mentioning calcium channel blockers were also recommended.

It reflects widespread alarm among PCOs over the cost of implementing the hypertension guidance, with 73 per cent expressing concern over the increased cost the use of calcium channel blockers would mean.

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