New research considered on blood pressure drugs

New research is being considered that could see nearly half of the UK's population put on blood pressure drugs.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) said it is currently reviewing its hypertension guidelines and is due to update them in August 2019.

It comes as new US guidelines saw the thresholds for being diagnosed with hypertension lowered, meaning that an extra 14% would be diagnosed, according to GP magazine Pulse.

This would bring the number of people with hypertension to 46% of the country's population, it said.

Nice guidelines currently recommend offering antihypertensive drug treatment to those of any age with stage two hypertension or high blood pressure.

Nice defines stage one hypertension as an average blood pressure of 135/85 mmHg or higher and stage two as 150/95 mmHg or higher.

Persistent high blood pressure can increase the risk of heart disease, strokes, heart failure and heart attacks.

A Nice spokeswoman said: "Our advisory committee will follow the evidence and apply our normal process for making their recommendations, which takes into account costs and benefits and which will be subject to consultation in due course."