Increasing the Precision of Hypertension Treatment Through Personalized Trials: a Pilot Study

  • Ian M. KronishEmail author
  • Ying Kuen Cheung
  • Daichi Shimbo
  • Jacob Julian
  • Benjamin Gallagher
  • Faith Parsons
  • Karina W. Davidson



There are substantial differences in the effects of blood pressure (BP) medications in individual patients. Yet, the current standard approach to prescribing BP medications is not personalized.


To determine the feasibility of individualizing the selection of BP medications through pragmatic personalized (i.e., N-of-1) trials.


Series of N-of-1 trials.




Hypertensive adults prescribed none or one BP medication.


Participation in a flexible, open-label personalized trial of two to three BP medications (NCT02744456).


BP was measured twice per day with a validated home BP device. Frequency and severity of side effects were assessed at the end of the day via an electronic questionnaire. Patients’ BP medication preference was assessed after reviewing BP lowering and side effect results with a study clinician. Feasibility was assessed by determining the proportion of patients who adhered to self-assessments. Benefit was assessed by asking patients to rate the helpfulness of participation and whether they would recommend personalized trials to other hypertensive patients.

Key Results

Of ten patients enrolled, two dropped out prior to initiation, one discovered white coat hypertension through ambulatory BP monitoring, and seven (mean age 58 years, 71% of women) completed personalized trials. All seven were compliant with home BP monitoring and side effect tracking. All seven recommended personalized trials of BP medications to others. Thiazides were preferred by three patients, renin-angiotensin system–blocking agents by two patients, a combination of thiazide and beta-blocker by one patient, and any of three classes by one patient.


Personalized trials of BP medications were feasible and led to improved treatment precision. Heterogeneity of patient preferences and of therapeutic BP response for first-line BP medications can be determined through a personalized trial approach.


hypertension primary care clinical trials disease management health care delivery 



The study was funded by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (U01 TR001873). Dr. Kronish and Dr. Davidson received additional support from the National Library of Medicine (R01 LM012836).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they do not have a conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11606_2019_4831_MOESM1_ESM.docx (13.7 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 14078 kb)


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Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ian M. Kronish
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ying Kuen Cheung
    • 2
  • Daichi Shimbo
    • 1
  • Jacob Julian
    • 1
  • Benjamin Gallagher
    • 3
  • Faith Parsons
    • 1
  • Karina W. Davidson
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Behavioral Cardiovascular HealthColumbia University Irving Medical CenterNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biostatistics, Mailman School of Public HealthColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Section of General Internal Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Yale School of MedicineYale UniversityNew HavenUSA

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