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Infographic. How does exercise treatment compare with antihypertensive medications?
  1. Adrián Castillo-Garcia1,
  2. Huseyin Naci2,
  3. Pedro L Valenzuela3,4,
  4. Maximilian Salcher-Konrad2,
  5. Sofia Dias5,6,
  6. Manuel R Blum7,8,9,
  7. Samali Anova Sahoo10,
  8. David Nunan11,
  9. Javier S Morales12,
  10. Alejandro Lucia12,13,
  11. John PA Ioannidis8,9,14
  1. 1 Fissac, Madrid, Spain
  2. 2 Department of Health Policy, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK
  3. 3 Department of Systems Biology, University of Alcalá, Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Spain
  4. 4 Department of Sport and Health, Agencia Española para la Proteccion de la Salud en el Deporte, Madrid, Madrid, Spain
  5. 5 Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, University of York, York, UK
  6. 6 Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
  7. 7 Department of General Internal Medicine, Inselspital University Hospital Bern, Bern, BE, Switzerland
  8. 8 Department of Health Research and Policy, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, USA
  9. 9 Meta-Research Innovation Center at Stanford (METRICS), Stanford University, Stanford, California, USA
  10. 10 Department of Life Science and Management, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
  11. 11 Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
  12. 12 Faculty of Sport Sciences, Universidad Europea de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
  13. 13 Research Institute, Hospital 12 de Octubre, Madrid, Spain
  14. 14 Department of Medicine, Stanford Prevention Research Center, Stanford, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to Pedro L Valenzuela, Department of Systems Biology, University of Alcalá, Alcalá de Henares 28871, Spain; pedrol.valenzuela{at}

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High systolic blood pressure (SBP) remains the major cause of premature death globally despite advances in pharmacological treatment.1 2 The global direct medical costs associated with hypertension treatment are estimated at $370 billion/year worldwide, with the healthcare savings from effective management of this condition projected at about $100 billion/year.3 Unfortunately, relatively little attention is given to non-pharmacological strategies, including structured exercise interventions. A recent network meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) published in the BJSM4 aimed to compare the effects of exercise interventions and medications on SBP. We highlight the key findings of this network meta-analysis that are particularly relevant for clinical practice and health policy.

The study included 391 RCTs (39,742 …

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  • Contributors All authors contributed equally.

  • 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.