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Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2009 Aug;10(11):1817-31. doi: 10.1517/14656560903103820.

The value of irbesartan in the management of hypertension.

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Institute for Cardiovascular Pharmacology and Epidemiology, Mahlow, Germany.


Elevated blood pressure levels are highly prevalent and are a major reason for cardiovascular events and thus place a significant financial burden on healthcare systems worldwide. Guidelines recommend five first-line anti-hypertensive drug classes, but compelling indications may indicate favoring one drug class over another. Angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) have demonstrated a blood pressure lowering efficacy which is at least comparable with other drug classes, including ACE inhibitors (ACE-I), beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers and diuretics. They have, in addition, a lower side effect profile than other drug classes and patients on ARBs are more persistent with therapy. Compelling indications for the use of ARBs are heart failure, post-myocardial infarction, diabetic nephropathy, proteinuria/microalbuminuria, left ventricular hypertrophy, atrial fibrillation, metabolic syndrome and ACE-I induced cough. The ARB irbesartan has demonstrated a high efficacy in lowering blood pressure, which has been shown to be at least comparable with ACE-Is and superior to other ARBs such as losartan and valsartan. This translated into a better cost-effectiveness for irbesartan than for valsartan and losartan in the treatment of hypertension. In addition, irbesartan has been shown to be effective in both early and late stage diabetic nephropathy. It has further demonstrated considerable cost savings over standard therapy including beta-blockers, diuretics and non-dihydropyridine calcium channel blockers at all stages of kidney disease. Based on efficacy data from the Irbesartan Diabetic Nephropathy Trial and Reduction of Endpoints in NIDDM (non insulin dependant diabetes melitis) with the Angiotensin II Antagonist Losartan Study, it has also demonstrated cost savings over losartan in late stage renal disease. While both losartan and irbesartan are registered for the treatment of late stage diabetic nephropathy, irbesartan is also registered for early stage diabetic nephropathy in the EU. In summary, the data from randomized clinical trials on the efficacy of antihypertensive drugs provides an indication of their real value to patients. In addition observational data from clinical practice and proven end-organ protection in diabetic nephropathy provides further evidence of the true value of irbesartan compared to other ARBs in the treatment of hypertension.

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