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P T. 2011 Jan;36(1):22-40.

Use of Angiotensin receptor blockers in cardiovascular protection: current evidence and future directions.

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  • 1Dr. Munger is Professor of Pharmacotherapy and Internal Medicine and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at the College of Pharmacy of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah.



To differentiate angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) by vascular effects and outcomes in trials on cardio-protective endpoints.


MEDLINE searches were conducted from January 2003 to March 2009 using the following search terms: renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) blockade or inhibition; angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARBs); cardio-protection; vascular protection; end-organ protection; candesartan; eprosartan, irbesartan; losartan; olmesartan; telmisartan; and valsartan. Ongoing and recruiting clinical trials were identified via (July 2008).


Pertinent basic science research and clinical trials with cardiovascular endpoints and information from reviews, American Heart Association 2009 statistics, and The Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure guidelines were included in this review.


ARBs differ in their vascular protective pleiotropic effects and pharmacokinetic properties, which may contribute to their pharmacological protection to reduce cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, independently of their blood pressure (BP)-lowering effects.


Emerging data show that ARBs are effective in hypertension, left ventricular hypertrophy, postmyocardial infarction, and heart failure. To what extent their pleiotropic effects, independent of BP lowering, contribute to these outcomes will be the focus of research in the coming years. Well-designed, comparative-effectiveness studies are needed to clinically differentiate this class of agents. The future will be marked by multifunctional ARBs that will pharmacologically do more than antagonize the angiotensin type I (AT(1)) receptor.


Atrial fibrillation; candesartan; cardioprotection; cardiovascular disease; end-organ protection; eprosartan; heart failure; high blood pressure; hypertension; irbesartan; losartan; olmesartan; renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS); telmisartan; valsartan; vascular protection

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