, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 295-308
Date: 18 Aug 2006

Efficacy of Angiotensin Receptor Blockers in Cardiovascular Disease

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Abstract

The cardiovascular continuum describes the progression of pathophysiologic events from cardiovascular risk factors to symptomatic cardiovascular disease (CVD) and life-threatening events. Pharmacologic intervention early in the continuum may prevent or slow CVD development and improve quality of life. The renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system (RAAS) is central to the pathophysiology of CVD at many stages of the continuum. Numerous clinical trials of angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) have shown that RAAS blockade provides benefits to patients across the continuum. ARBs are as effective as ACE inhibitors in the treatment of hypertension; however tolerability and adherence to therapy appear to be improved with ARBs. Large clinical trials have shown that ARBs may provide therapeutic benefits beyond blood pressure control in patients with diabetes, heart failure or at risk of heart failure following a myocardial infarction. In addition, ARBs have been shown to provide protective effects in patients with impaired renal function or left ventricular hypertrophy. Additional clinical trials are ongoing to further characterize the role of ARBs in CVD management.