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  • 1 September 2018 to 31 March 2020
  • Project No: 418
  • Funding round: FR 16


People are living for longer, with more long-term physical & mental conditions which worsen their health. One example is high blood pressure, where people can take 3-4 drugs to reduce it, and prevent stroke. However, to prevent a stroke in one person, between 65-125 people have to be treated for at least a year. This is because these drugs only reduce possibility of stroke, they do not remove it altogether. Some of these patients may be prone to side effects such as falls and kidney problems.

Whilst the benefits of taking blood pressure drugs are well-studied, less research has focused on the harms. As people get older, the risks and benefits of their drugs may change. However, doctors and patients have little information to inform their understanding of when this might happen.


This proposal aims to begin development of a support tool. This tool will, in the future, estimate a person’s likelihood suffering harm from blood pressure lowering drugs. This tool will help patients and doctors to make better informed decisions about starting or continuing these drugs.


Objective 1 will be to review previous clinical trials to establish the link between blood pressure lowering drugs and side effects such as fainting, falls and kidney problems.

Objective 2 will be to create a calculator which predicts a person’s chances of suffering from these side effects, using a database of medical records from 100,000s of patients in England.

Objective 3 will be to bring together all the information gathered in objectives 1-2 to create a prototype drug harm calculator. This will be combined with existing drug benefit calculators.

Amount awarded: £176,100

Projects by themes

We have grouped projects under the five SPCR themes in this document

Evidence synthesis working group

The collaboration will be conducting 18 high impact systematic reviews, under four workstreams.