In the UK, previous work suggests ethnic inequalities in hypertension management. We studied ethnic differences in hypertension management and their contribution to blood pressure (BP) control.
We conducted a cohort study of antihypertensive-naïve individuals of European, South Asian and African/African Caribbean ethnicity with a new raised BP reading in UK primary care from 2006 to 2019, using the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD). We studied differences in: BP re-measurement after an initial hypertensive BP, antihypertensive initiation, BP monitoring, antihypertensive intensification, antihypertensive persistence/adherence and BP control one year after antihypertensive initiation. Models adjusted for socio-demographics, BP, comorbidity, healthcare usage and polypharmacy (plus antihypertensive class, BP monitoring, intensification, persistence and adherence for BP control models).
A total of 731,506 (93.5%), 30,379 (3.9%) and 20,256 (2.6%) people of European, South Asian and African/African Caribbean ethnicity were studied. Hypertension management indicators were similar or more favourable for South Asian than European groups (OR/HR [95% CI] in fully-adjusted models of BP re-measurement: 1.16 [1.09, 1.24]), antihypertensive initiation: 1.49 [1.37, 1.62], BP monitoring: 0.97 [0.94, 1.00] and antihypertensive intensification: 1.10 [1.04, 1.16]). For people of African/African Caribbean ethnicity, BP re-measurement rates were similar to those of European ethnicity (0.98 [0.91, 1.05]), and antihypertensive initiation rates greater (1.48 [1.32, 1.66]), but BP monitoring (0.91 [0.87, 0.95]) and intensification rates lower (0.93 [0.87, 1.00]). Persistence and adherence were lower in South Asian (0.48 [0.45, 0.51] and 0.51 [0.47, 0.56]) and African/African Caribbean (0.38 [0.35, 0.42] and 0.39 [0.36, 0.43]) than European groups. BP control was similar in South Asian and less likely in African/African Caribbean than European groups (0.98 [0.90, 1.06] and 0.81 [0.74, 0.89] in age, gender and BP adjusted models). The latter difference attenuated after adjustment for persistence (0.91 [0.82, 0.99]) or adherence (0.92 [0.83, 1.01]), and was absent for antihypertensive-adherent people (0.99 [0.88, 1.10]).
We demonstrate that antihypertensive initiation does not vary by ethnicity, but subsequent BP control was notably lower among people of African/African Caribbean ethnicity, potentially associated with being less likely to remain on regular treatment. A nationwide strategy to understand and address differences in ongoing management of people on antihypertensives is imperative.