Renin emerges as a definitive marker for hypertension drugs

Hypertension drugs represent one of the world's biggest drug categories, as well as an area of incredible waste. A large proportion of the people who take a drug for high blood pressure are prescribed therapies that don't work for them. And now there's new work underway to identify key biomarkers that can improve the odds of success.

One new study will examine if the level of the hormone renin can effectively flag a patient's response to drugs, building on recent investigations that demonstrate how useful it can be in prescribing add-on therapies. And others are examining why certain ethnic groups respond better to some drugs than others. Ironically, researchers knew as early as the 1970s that renin could work as an effective biomarker, but conflicting evidence and the cost of research delayed any definitive studies.

"Our current prescribing methods are very primitive. We haven't increased the success rate [in treating hypertension] in 35 years," Michael Alderman, an expert at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, tells the Wall Street Journal.

- here's the WSJ story