The antiatherogenic effects of antihypertensive drugs: Experimental and clinical evidence

Alberto Zanchetti

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The question whether some classes of antihypertensive drugs have an antiatherogenic action independent of the antihypertensive one has been investigated through a large series of experimental studies; on the other hand, clinical evidence is still rather scanty. Most experimental investigations have shown a significant antiatherogenic action of the antihypertensive compounds, but only when the drug is administered simultaneously with the atherogenic stimulus (mostly cholesterol feeding). When the drug is administered weeks or months after the beginning of atherosclerosis (as in the Watanabe heritable hyperlipemic rabbit), no antiatherogenic effect has been shown, with a single exception. Although the most numerous data available are on calcium antagonists, almost all antihypertensive classes tested have shown some favorable effect on some experimental model. The few clinical studies completed so far are on coronary patients; they have provided arteriographic evidence that various calcium-antagonists have little effect on well-developed lesions and display a beneficial action on new or early lesions only. Ultrasound studies are now underway to compare the effects of calcium-antagonists and diuretics on asymptomatic carotid atherosclerotic lesions in hypertensive patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-331
Number of pages25
JournalClinical and Experimental Hypertension
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Physiology


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