Antihypertensive prescription patterns and cardiovascular risk in patients with newly diagnosed hypertension- an analysis of statutory health insurance data in Germany

Christian Beger, Thomas Unger, Hermann Haller, Florian P. Limbourg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Web of Science)


Purpose:Hypertension is the most important risk factor for disease and premature death. Treatment strategies adjusted for cardiovascular risk have been proposed in guidelines, but real-life treatment strategies for patients with newly diagnosed hypertension in Germany are largely unknown. The aim of the study was to analyse initial drug treatment strategies and associated risk status in patients with newly diagnosed hypertension. Material and methods:In the representative research database of the public health insurance system in Germany (2077899 individuals) we identified patients with newly diagnosed hypertension in 2012 and analysed co-existing cardiovascular co-morbidities and hypertension-mediated organ damage by ICD-codes as qualifiers for high risk. Health insurance billing datasets for redeemed prescriptions were analysed at several time points using ATC-codes. Results:The incidence of hypertension was 2.6%, 33.6% of the patients were at high risk at diagnosis, mainly due to cardiovascular co-morbidities. Most patients initially received monotherapy (55.4%), of which ACE inhibitors (43.8%) or beta-blockers (32.4%) were the leading drug classes, while 21.7% of patients received no drug therapy during the first year. The treatment strategies of low and high-risk patients resembled each other - high-risk patients also received mostly monotherapy during the first year after diagnosis (53.4%), while 13.7% remained without drug therapy. Combination therapy was the most frequent treatment strategy one year after hypertension diagnosis (40.6%) and in the long term (68.4%). Conclusion:Initial treatment strategies may not always be stratified according to cardiovascular risk. The majority of patients with hypertension receives initial monotherapy independent of their individual risk. However, combination therapy represents the major form of therapy in the long-term.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-361
Number of pages5
JournalBlood Pressure
Issue number6
Early online date16 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2020


  • Arterial hypertension
  • initial drug treatment
  • prescription data
  • risk stratification
  • statutory health insurance

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