Birth weight influences response to antihypertensive therapy

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – The results of a study published in the January issue of Hypertension suggest an association between low birth weight and the future use of calcium channel antagonists by black women and angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors by white men.

Dr. Daniel T. Lackland, of the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, and colleagues, examined the association between birth weight and class of antihypertensive medication used by 3236 Medicaid beneficiaries in South Carolina. Birth weight was obtained from birth certificates of all beneficiaries who had a diagnosis of hypertension between 1993 and 1996. Data on age, gender and race were also collected.

The researchers found that birth weight was not associated with the use of diuretics or beta-blockers.

They observed an inverse association between birth weight and the use of calcium channel antagonists among black women (p = 0.03). The association remained significant after adjusting for the number of antihypertensive medications.

Among white men, both high and low birth weights were related to greater use of angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors compared with men with normal birth weights (p = 0.002). "These findings persisted when adjusted for the number of classes of drugs prescribed and for the presence of diabetes mellitus and/or congestive heart failure," the team notes.

Based on these findings, Dr. Lackland's group suggests "that further study of the relationship between birth weight and blood pressure responses to various antihypertensive medications may help elucidate pathophysiological factors contributing to geographic and racial disparities in therapeutic efficacy."

Hypertension 2002;39;179-183.

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