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Prescribing Advice for GPs

An NHS Prescribing Advisers' Blog

ASCOT hype continues

The British Medical Journal this week carries an editorial on the recently published ASCOT Study.

This trial has received a lot of media attention from organisations such as the BBC.

The editorial is factually correct but perhaps it goes a little too far in attempting to second guess the reaction of the National Institute of Clinical Excellence and the British Hypertension Society as they revise their advice.

Continuing the hype around this study the editorial also quotes relative risk reductions that the original paper admit are derived from "fairly small absolute benefits". Adding to the concern is the declaration of competing interests by two of the three authors who appear to work closely with drug companies who are active in the hypertension and diabetes market.

Action: Prescribers should reassure patients about their treatment until the National Guidelines are reviewed and published. Changing practice at this early stage is premature and may mean it needs to be re-changed at a later date.

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