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Lack of effects of evidence-based, individualised counselling on medication use in insured patients with mild hypertension in China: a randomised controlled trial
  1. Mengyang Di1,2,
  2. Chen Mao3,
  3. Zuyao Yang2,
  4. Hong Ding4,
  5. Qu Liu4,
  6. Shuiming Liu4,
  7. Hongbo Guo5,
  8. Kunhua Jiang6,
  9. Jinling Tang2,7
  1. 1 Department of Medicine, Rhode Island Hospital, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, USA
  2. 2 Division of Epidemiology, School of Public Health and Primary Care, Chinese University of Hong Kong, New Territories, Hong Kong
  3. 3 Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, China
  4. 4 Longgang Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Shenzhen, China
  5. 5 Central City Community Healthcare Centre, Longgang People’s Hospital, Shenzhen, China
  6. 6 Ziwei Garden Community Healthcare Centre, Longgang People’s Hospital, Shenzhen, China
  7. 7 Shenzhen Key Laboratory for Health Risk Analysis, Shenzhen Research Institute of The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen, China
  1. Correspondence to Professor Jinling Tang, Division of Epidemiology, School of Public Health and Primary Care, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China; jltang{at}


Objective To evaluate whether evidence-based, individualised (EBI) counselling regarding hypertension and the treatment would affect medication use in insured patients with mild hypertension in China.

Methods We conducted a parallel-group, randomised controlled trial in two primary care centres in Shenzhen, a metropolitan city in China. Patients with mild primary hypertension, 10-year risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) lower than 20% and no history of CVDs were recruited and randomly allocated to two groups. EBI plus general counselling was provided to the intervention group and general counselling alone to the control group. EBI counselling included information on the 10-year CVD risk and treatment benefit in terms of absolute risk reduction estimated for each individual and information on average side effects and costs of antihypertensive drugs. The outcomes included use of antihypertensive drugs and adherence to the treatment at 6-month follow-up, with the former being primary outcome.

Results Two hundred and ten patients were recruited, with 103 and 107 allocated to the intervention and control groups, respectively. At baseline, 62.4% of the patients were taking antihypertensive drugs that were all covered by health insurance. At the end of 6-month follow-up, there was no statistically significant difference in the rate of medication use between the intervention group and the control group (65.0% vs 57.9%; OR=1.35, 95% CI: 0.77 to 2.36). The difference in adherence rate between the two groups was not statistically significant either (43.7% vs 40.2%; OR=1.15, 95% CI 0.67 to 2.00]). The results were robust in sensitivity analyses that used different cutoffs to define the two outcomes.

Conclusions The EBI counselling by health educators other than the caring physicians had little impact on treatment choices and drug-taking behaviours in insured patients with mild primary hypertension in this study. It remains unclear whether EBI counselling would make a difference in uninsured patients, especially when conducted by the caring physicians.

Trial registration number ChiCTR-TRC-14004169.

  • evidence-based medicine
  • antihypertensive treatment
  • individualised counselling
  • primary care
  • randomised controlled trial

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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data are available on reasonable request.

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