, Volume 50, Issue 6, pp 991–1000 | Cite as

Guidelines for the Drug Treatment of Hypertensive Crises

  • Michael M. Hirschl
Practical Therapeutics


Hypertensive crises are a group of clinicopathological entities in which rapid reduction of hypertension is necessary to prevent serious end-organ damage. The diagnosis and treatment plan depends on the identification of specific end-organ dysfunction. The goal of treatment is to limit the progression of end-organ damage in patients with hypertensive crises. Several potent antihypertensive drugs, such as sodium nitroprusside, labetalol and urapidil, are available to produce an immediate fall in blood pressure. The choice of the drug should be made on the basis of its pharmacodynamic properties, clinical effects, advantages and contraindications. Additionally, rapid reduction of blood pressure carries a considerable risk, if it is performed in an uncontrolled manner, leading to further end-organ damage. The aim of the treatment is not just to reduce blood pressure, but to do so with minimal adverse effects while preserving organ function.


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Copyright information

© Adis International Limited 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael M. Hirschl
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Emergency MedicineNew General Hospital, University of ViennaViennaAustria

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