V. Goals of Therapy for Adults With Hypertension Without Compelling Indications for Specific Agents

Prevention and Treatment

Subgroup Members: George K. Dresser, MD PhD; Robert J. Herman, MD; Pavel Hamet, MD PhD; Ellen Burgess, MD; Richard Lewanczuk, MD PhD; Jean C. Grégoire, MD; Steven E. Gryn, MD; Luc Poirier, BPharm MSc
Central Review Committee: Stella S. Daskalopoulou, MD MSc DIC PhD (Chair); Kaberi Dasgupta, MD MSc; Kelly B. Zarnke, MD MSc; Kara Nerenberg, MD, MSc; Alexander A. Leung, MD MPH; Kevin C. Harris, MD MHSc; Kerry McBrien, MD MPH; Sonia Butalia, BSc MD MSc; Meranda Nakhla, MD MSc
Co-Chairs: Doreen M. Rabi, MD MSc, Stella S. Daskalopoulou, MD MSc DIC PhD

This information is based on the Hypertension Canada guidelines published in Nerenberg, Kara A. et al. Hypertension Canada’s 2018 Guidelines for Diagnosis, Risk Assessment, Prevention, and Treatment of Hypertension in Adults and Children. Can J Cardiol.


  1. The SBP treatment goal is a pressure level of <140 mmHg (Grade C). The DBP treatment goal is a pressure level of <90 mmHg (Grade A).


1. The SBP treatment goal is a pressure level of <140 mmHg (Grade C). The DBP treatment goal is a pressure level of <90 mmHg (Grade A).

Specified targets are deduced from clinical trial literature demonstrating the benefits of antihypertensive therapy (1-4).

A goal of <140/90 mmHg is to some extent a compromise – high risk patients may benefit from lower thresholds (see Section on Global Vascular Protection) and very low risk patients may not derive substantial benefits from achieving BP levels <140/90 mmHg.  Nevertheless, most trials in the field of hypertension achieved BP levels less than these thresholds and, therefore, <140/90 mmHg represents a reasonable compromise for the BP goal in most individuals.

Patients with hypertension who have concomitant diabetes mellitus derive benefits from even lower treatment thresholds and treatment targets (see Diabetes section).

Consistent with the changes made to section II (Indications for drug therapy for adults with hypertension without compelling indications for specific agents), we have removed the previous guidelines for different BP goals for the elderly. Evidence suggests that older patients with hypertension similarly benefit from intensive BP reduction as younger adults. (53-56)


  1. Blood Pressure Lowering Treatment Trialists Collaboration. Blood pressure-lowering treatment based on cardiovascular risk: a meta-analysis of individual patient data. Lancet 2014;384:591-598.
  2. Ettehad D, Emdin CA, Kiran A, Anderson SG, Callender T, Emberson J, Chalmers J, Rodgers A, Rahimi K. Blood pressure lowering for prevention of cardiovascular disease and death: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet 2015;387:957-967.
  3. Xie X, Atkins E, Lv J, Bennett A, Neal B, Ninomiya T, Woodward M, MacMahon S, Turnbull F, Hillis GS, Chalmers J, Mant J, Salam A, Rahimi K, Perkovic V, Rodgers A. Effects of intensive blood pressure lowering on cardiovascular and renal outcomes: updated systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet 2015;387:435-443.
  4. Sundström J, Sheikhi R, Östgren CJ, Svennblad B, Bodegård J, Nilsson PM, Johansson G. Blood pressure levels and risk of cardiovascular events and mortality in type-2 diabetes. J Hypertens 2013;31:1603-1610.
  5. McAlister FA, Levine M, Zarnke K, Campbell NRC, et al., for the Canadian Hypertension Recommendations Working Group. The 2000 Canadian recommendations for the management of hypertension: Part one–Therapy. Can J Cardiol 2001;17:543-59.
  6. Ogilvie RI, Burgess ED, Cusson JR, Feldman RD, Leiter LA, Myers MG. Report of the Canadian Hypertension Society Consensus Conference: 3. Pharmacologic treatment of essential hypertension. CMAJ 1993;149(5):575-84.
  7. Collins R, Peto R, MacMahon S, et al. Blood pressure, stroke, and coronary heart disease. Part 2: Short-term reductions in blood pressure: overview of randomised drug trials in their epidemiological context. Lancet 1990;335:827-38.
  8. SHEP Co-operative Research Group. Prevention of stroke by antihypertensive drug treatment in older persons with isolated systolic hypertension: final results of the Systolic Hypertension in the Elderly Program (SHEP). JAMA 1991;265:3255-64.
  9. Blood Pressure Lowering Trialists’ Collaboration. Effects of ACE inhibitors, calcium antagonists, and other blood-pressure-lowering drugs: results of prospectively designed overviews of randomised trials. Lancet 2000;356:1955-64.
  10. Hansson L, Zanchetti A, Carruthers SO, et al. Effects of intensive blood-pressure lowering and low-dose aspirin in patients with hypertension: principal results of the Hypertension Optimal Treatment (HOT) randomised trial. Lancet 1998;351:1755-62.
  11. UK Prospective Diabetes Study Group. Tight blood pressure control and risk of macrovascular and microvascular complications in type 2 diabetes: UKPDS 38. BMAJ 1998;317:703-13 .
  12. Estacio R, Jeffers B, Hiatt W, et al. The effect of nisoldipine as compared with enalapril on cardiovascular outcomes in patients with non-insulin dependant diabetes and hypertension. N Engl J Med 1998;338:645-52.
  13. Gueyffier F, Bulpitt C, Boissel JP, et al. Antihypertensive drugs in very old people: a subgroup meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Lancet 1999;353:793-6.
  14. Beckett NS, Peters R, Fletcher AE, et al. Treatment of hypertension in patients 80 years of age or older. N Engl J Med 2008;358:1887-98.