Do current arterial hypertension treatment guidelines apply to systemic lupus erythematosus patients? A critical appraisal
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OBJECTIVE: Arterial hypertension (HTN) is reported to burden up to 74% of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients and contributes significantly to accelerated atherosclerosis and increased cardiovascular (CV) risk. Current HTN treatment guidelines have not incorporated lupus patients in their recommendations; whether these guidelines can be fully implemented in SLE is doubtful. METHODS: A critical appraisal of the existing HTN guidelines in regard to SLE is presented in this review, based upon clinical and experimental data. Particular issues addressed are the time of antihypertensive therapy initiation, the optimal blood pressure level, the antihypertensive agent of first-choice and the need for reduction of the total cardiovascular risk in SLE. RESULTS: Antihypertensive therapy should be recommended at levels of 140/90 mmHg (systolic and diastolic BP, respectively) in newly diagnosed lupus patients without overt target organ involvement. In the case of lupus nephritis (LN) or diabetes mellitus (DM), therapy should be implemented at lower levels, such as 130/80 mmHg. Hypertensive lupus patients should be considered at high or very high CV risk and, consequently, the optimal BP level should be less than 130/80 mmHg. Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs) and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) seem to be a safe and efficacious first-choice antihypertensive treatment in lupus patients. Total CV risk should be considered and co-morbidities (dyslipidemia, antiphospholipid syndrome, etc.) should be managed promptly. CONCLUSIONS: Current HTN therapeutic guidelines, lacking data from large-scale clinical trials, may not adequately apply to SLE patients. The assessment of the aforementioned recommendations in randomized clinical trials is expected to confirm their value in reducing CV risk in SLE.
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