This pilot randomized controlled trial (RCT) was designed to provide the preliminary data necessary to conduct a full-scale trial to compare the efficacy of differing first-line antihypertensive medications in improving functional status in older adults, when combined with exercise. Dr. Byron Jaeger, assistant professor in the department of biostatistics from UAB’s School of Public Health collaborated on this pilot project.

The primary objectives were to assess study feasibility, safety, and protocol integrity. Dependent outcomes included gait speed, exercise capacity, body composition, and systemic cardiometabolic biomarkers. Thirty-one physically inactive older adults (70.6 ± 6.1 years) with hypertension and functional limitations were randomly assigned to (1) Perindopril (8 mg/day n = 10), (2) Losartan (100 mg/day; n = 13), or (3) Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ: 25 mg/day; n = 8).

Participants were also assigned to a 24-week multimodal exercise intervention, separated into an aerobic and concurrent (aerobic + resistance) phase to evaluate potential mode effects. Retention was 84% (26/31), and compliance was >90% and >79% with medication and exercise, respectively.

A total of 29 adverse events (Perindopril = 5; Losartan = 12; HCTZ = 11) and one unrelated serious adverse event were observed throughout the trial. Overall, this pilot RCT provided critical data and identified several challenges to ultimately designing and implementing a fully powered trial.

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