Reviewed by Varnada Karriem-Norwood on June 04, 2012
Jonathan Sackner-Bernstein, MD.
© 2007 WebMD, Inc. All rights reserved.
Jonathan Sackner Bernstein, MD: I'd like to say the answer is no, that you're not stuck with the medicine for the rest of your life, but I think in all honesty, we've got two possible realistic scenarios. I'll start out by pointing out that if you're newly diagnosed with hypertension, your doctor should really look for reversible causes of hypertension, whether that be an endocrine abnormality, problems with the blood vessels to your kidneys, somebody even advocates sleep apnea as a potential cause of reversible hypertension, but if none of those or other reversible causes of hypertension are evident, then there are two scenarios that you are faced with, with regard to these medications. One is we're fortunate enough that somewhere in the foreseeable future, we understand, we learn about a specific or several specific genetic abnormalities for which we can then provide a specific therapy that may reverse that abnormality in which case potentially, we can cure the disease. I think in all likelihood, we probably will be talking about one medicine instead of the several that most people would take. So you would get off some of the medicines. The second possibility, which for most people in their 60s or 70s is probably more realistic, is that we'll be talking, hopefully for several decades about your desire to get off the medicines, but unfortunately, not reach that point. But as long as we can do it for several decades with you feeling well, I think that's a pretty good place to be.