Background Angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) are a valuable option to reduce cardiovascular (CV) mortality and morbidity in cardiac patients in whom ACE-inhibitors (ACE-Is) cannot be used. However, clinical outcome data from direct comparisons between ACE-Is and ARBs are scarce, and some data have recently suggested superiority of ACE-Is over ARBs. Methods We performed a Bayesian network-meta-analysis, with data from both direct and indirect comparisons, from 27 randomized controlled trials (RCTs), including a total population of 125,330 patients, to assess the effects of ACE-Is and ARBs on the composite endpoint of CV death, myocardial infarction (MI) and stroke, and on all-cause death, new-onset heart failure (HF) and new-onset diabetes mellitus (DM) in high CV risk patients without HF. Results Using placebo as a common comparator, we found no significant differences between ACE-Is and ARBs in preventing the composite endpoint of CV death, MI and stroke (RR: 0.92; 95% CI 0.78-1.08). When components of the composite outcome were analysed separately, ACEi and ARBs were associated with a similar risk of CV death (RR: 0.92; 95% CI 0.73-1.10), MI (RR: 0.91; 95% CI 0.78-1.07) and stroke (RR: 0.97; 95% CI 0.79-1.19), as well as a similar incident risk of all-cause death (RR: 0.94; 95% CI 0.85-1.05), new-onset HF (RR: 0.92; 95% CI 0.77-1.15) and new-onset DM (RR: 99; 95% CI 0.81-1.21). Conclusions With the limitations of indirect comparisons, we found that in patients at high CV risk without HF, ARBs were similar to ACE-Is in preventing the composite endpoint of CV death, MI and stroke. Compared with ARBs, we found no evidence of statistical superiority for ACE-Is, as a class, in preventing incident risk of all-cause death, CV death, MI, stroke, new-onset DM and new-onset HF.
- Angiotensin receptor blockers
- Cardiovascular risk
- Network meta-analysis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine