Obesity, glucose intolerance, hyperinsulinemia, and response to antihypertensive drugs

Michaela Modan*, Shlomo Almog, Zahava Fuchs, Angela Chetrit, Ayala Lusky, Hillel Halkin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


Responsiveness to antihypertensive medications was investigated cross-sectionally in 559 individuals comprising all treated hypertensive patients identified within a representative sample (n=3,532, aged 40-70 years) of the Jewish population in Israel. A rate of dosage score (a summed ranking of dosages of all drugs taken) of two or more increased significantly with increasing levels of body mass index (BMI) from 37.5% in levels less than 23, 54.9% in levels 23.0-29.9, and 76.4% in levels of 30 or greater (p<0.0001). Multivariate analyses, adjusting for age, gender, arm circumference, and ethnic group, confirmed the independent effect of BMI on dosage score (p<0.001). At each level of dosage score, mean blood pressure levels were equivalent at all levels of BMI after adjusting for potential confounders. This indicates that achieved blood pressure level and not BMI itself was the main determinant of the higher dosing regimens prescribed at higher levels of BMI. In representative subgroups, glucose tolerance (n=372) and hyperinsulinemia (n=190) were determined and were found to be positively associated with a dosage score of two or more (p<0.05) independently of BMI. These effects could not be accounted for by poor compliance or by altered drug absorption or disposition since overnight urinary drug excretion and plasma drug concentrations 2 hours after ingestion, measured in 80 randomly selected patients from the study group, were not different across BMI categories at similar dosages. These findings indicate that obesity, even at mild levels, as well as glucose intolerance and hyperinsulinemia, is associated with decreased responsiveness to antihypertensive medications, perhaps as a manifestation of the insulin resistance that characterizes these conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)565-573
Number of pages9
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1991


  • Antihypertensive agents
  • Drug-resistant hypertension
  • Essential hypertension
  • Glucose
  • Hyperinsulinemia
  • Obesity


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