Hypertension (high blood pressure) is known to increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and kidney failure. The prevalence of hypertension in children is rising. A significant proportion of children with hypertension require medication to reduce blood pressure and medication use has increased significantly over the past several years.
This systematic review includes 21 trials, involving 3454 children, which evaluated different medications to lower blood pressure among children with hypertension. This evidence is up to date as of October 2013. Most trials were of very short duration with the average being seven weeks. The studies were of variable quality and mostly industry funded. Not all studies compared the effect of medication on blood pressure lowering to a placebo. Only a few classes of the commonly prescribed drugs have been evaluated and most had a modest effect on blood pressure, but it is uncertain whether this results in improved long-term outcomes for children. Higher doses of medication did not result in greater reduction of blood pressure. All of the drugs studied were safe for use, at least in the short term.