Hypertension is a frequent condition among individuals over 65 years of age worldwide and is one of the most important risk factors for cardiovascular (CV) disease. Effective drug treatment of elderly hypertensives is usually associated with a marked reduction in CV morbidity and mortality. Among the different classes of antihypertensive agents, angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) and ACE-inhibitors are supposed to provide the best efficacy in lowering blood pressure (BP) and protecting target organ damage while featuring a good tolerability profile. However, up to date, few randomized clinical studies have directly compared the activity and safety of ARBs and ACE-inhibitors in elderly hypertensive patients. Aim of this review of published and unpublished pooled data from two recent randomized, double-blind, controlled trials, is to offer a comprehensive head-to-head comparison of the antihypertensive efficacy of the ARB olmesartan medoxomil vs. the ACE-inhibitor ramipril in a large study population including more than 1,400 hypertensive subjects aged 65-89 years with mild-to-moderate essential hypertension. The efficacy of the two drugs was separately evaluated in subgroups of patients classified according to the presence of metabolic syndrome, reduced renal function, CV risk level, gender, class of age, type of arterial hypertension and previous antihypertensive treatments. Olmesartan showed a greater efficacy than ramipril both in terms of clinic BP reduction and rate normalization. Olmesartan appeared significantly superior to ramipril in providing a more homogeneous and long-lasting 24-h BP control and maintaining an effective antihypertensive action in the last 6-h period from drug intake. In subgroups of patients with additional clinical conditions, olmesartan gave comparable, and in some cases greater, BP responses than those achieved with the ACE-inhibitor. The incidence of adverse events was similar for both drugs. Olmesartan may thus represent an effective alternative to ACE-inhibitors among first-line drug treatments for hypertension in older people.
- Essential hypertension
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Internal Medicine