In the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease, pharmacological treatment strategies should have several aims: (i) in individuals without overt cardiovascular disease, but with risk factors such as hypertension and/or diabetes, pharmacotherapy should prevent or delay disease development; (ii) in patients who have already progressed to cardiovascular disease, pharmacotherapy should help either to prevent or regress target organ damage (TOD); and (iii) in patients with TOD, pharmacotherapy should prevent events. Any medication intended for long-term therapy also should be well tolerated. Inhibiting the renin-angiotensin system has proven a successful therapeutic strategy in cardiovascular and renal medicine. Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors have demonstrated important advantages over conventional agents such as beta-blockers and thiazide diuretics, and have become a relevant part of treatment for heart failure post-myocardial infarction, left ventricular dysfunction and renal disease. Tolerability concerns may prevent their use in some patients, however. Angiotensin AT1 receptor blockers (ARBs) provide a different form of blockade of the renin-angiotensin system and a growing body of evidence suggests that this alternative approach may confer additional cardiovascular protection for some patient subgroups. In addition, ARBs generally are better tolerated than ACE inhibitors, enhancing patient compliance and persistence with long-term therapy. Furthermore, evidence in favour of combining an ACE inhibitor and an ARB in certain circumstances is continuously growing.
- Angiotensin AT1 receptor antagonists
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Renin-angiotensin system
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine