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J Hum Hypertens. 2005 May;19(5):331-9.

Angiotensin-II receptor blockers: benefits beyond blood pressure reduction?

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Division of Cardiology, II Faculty of Medicine, University of Rome La Sapienza, Sant'Andrea Hospital, Rome, and IRCCS Neuromed--Pozzilli (IS), Italy.


Effective treatment of hypertension is essential to reduce the risk of renal and cardiovascular (CV) morbidity. The risks associated with hypertension are modulated by the presence of other factors. This has prompted the quest for agents that have benefits beyond blood pressure (BP) lowering. The angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB) class of antihypertensive agents represents an important addition to the therapeutic options for elevated BP. Their ability to control BP is equivalent to existing therapies and there is a considerable and mounting evidence-base for their ability to reduce hypertension-associated target organ damage and comorbidities. Studies show that ARBs have clinical benefits across the spectrum of disease severity. In particular, recent large studies have demonstrated that these benefits extend to patients with conditions predisposing to CV events, such as diabetes, left ventricular hypertrophy and microalbuminuria, and where risk factors coexist. Data from these studies suggest that the CV protective effects of ARBs are at least, in part, independent from the BP lowering action. In addition, ARBs are extremely well tolerated, and strong evidence suggests that compliance with therapy--a key factor in achieving adequate BP control--with ARBs is higher than with other antihypertensive agents. Furthermore, flexible dosing and good tolerability profile mean that, where necessary, ARBs can be combined with other classes of antihypertensive agents to achieve adequate BP control and reduce the risk of hypertension-associated morbidity.

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