A review by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) has recommended that improved diagnosis and increased prescribing of medicines to deal with hypertension at an early stage will help prevent future problems including heart disease and diabetes.
Medicines have made a vital contribution to a 22% fall in the number of deaths from circulatory conditions during the last decade. Over the same period the number of anti-hypertension medicine prescriptions has increased five fold. There has also been a reduction in the number of hospital bed days in England for hypertension from 125,000 in 1991 down to 91,000 by the end of 2002 - a 27% drop.
ABPI Director General, Dr Richard Barker said: "This new guidance from NICE demonstrates once again that early and tight management of a disease results in better health for patients, reduces the number of hospital stays and frees up capacity for the NHS. Medicines have a key role to play in achieving these aims."
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