Treating Hypertension in Children With n-of-1 Trials


Clinicians prescribe antihypertensive medication to children with primary hypertension, but without data to define a particular choice as first-line therapy. A one-size-fits-all approach may not be appropriate for these patients. Our aim was to develop a personalized approach to hypertension treatment, using repeated ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) in n-of-1 trials (single-patient randomized crossover trials).


Children undergoing hypertension management at a single pediatric referral center were offered participation in an n-of-1 trial with repeated ABPM to compare 3 commonly used medications. The medication producing the greatest blood pressure reduction, and without unacceptable side effects, was selected as the preferred therapy for the individual.


Forty-two children agreed to participate; 7 were normotensive without medication; and 3 failed to complete one treatment cycle. Of the remaining 32 patients, lisinopril was preferred for 16, amlodipine for 8, hydrochlorothiazide for 4, and 4 had uncontrolled blood pressure on maximum doses of monotherapy. In conservative Bayesian analyses, the proportion of patients who preferred lisinopril was 49% (95% credible interval [CrI]: 32% to 69%), 24% (95% CrI: 12% to 41%) preferred amlodipine, and 12% (95% CrI: 4% to 26%) preferred hydrochlorothiazide. The preferred therapy for the majority (67%) of African American participants was lisinopril. Unacceptable side effects were reported in 24% of assessments for hydrochlorothiazide, 16% for lisinopril, and 13% for amlodipine.


No single medication was preferred for more than half of hypertensive children. n of-1 trials with repeated ABPM may promote better informed and individualized decisions in pediatric hypertension management.

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