As a side project to a study of coronary risk factors 4878 men and women aged 20-53 were interviewed about present and previous use of antihypertensive drugs. Serum lipid and glucose concentrations were compared in 124 present users, 73 previous users, and 124 controls matched for age, sex, and systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Users of betablockers, thiazides, and other antihypertensive drugs had higher total cholesterol, triglycerides, and glucose and lower HDL-cholesterol than the other groups, but only the difference in HDL-cholesterol was statistically significant. Smokers had statistically significant lower HDL-cholesterol than non-smokers in drug users, whereas there were only minor differences between them in previous and never users. This indicates an interaction between smoking and current antihypertensive medication. The unfavourable serum lipid pattern may, if caused by drug use, explain the lack of influence that antihypertensive treatment has had on the incidence of coronary heart disease in intervention studies.
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