▲ Valsartan, an orally active nonpeptide angiotensin II (AII) receptor antagonist with selectivity for the AII type I (AT1) receptor subtype, has recently been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of patients with heart failure (New York Health Association class II–IV) who are intolerant of ACE-inhibitor therapy.
▲ Results from the Valsartan Heart Failure Trial (Val-HeFT) showed that in patients with chronic heart failure (CHF) [n = 5010], valsartan 160mg twice daily, when used in combination with conventional therapy for heart failure, reduced the risk of the combined endpoint of mortality and morbidity by 13.2% compared with placebo. However, there was no significant difference in overall mortality between the valsartan and placebo groups. Morbidity was defined as cardiac arrest with resuscitation, hospitalization for heart failure, or administration of intravenous inotropic or vasodilator drugs for ≥4 hours without hospitalization.
▲ Among patients not receiving an ACE inhibitor, irrespective of concomitant β-blocker use, valsartan reduced the risk of mortality and the combined endpoint by 33.1% and 44% compared with placebo; total hospitalizations for heart failure were also significantly lower in the valsartan group (27.6 vs64.6%).
▲ In the subgroup of patients who were taking an ACE inhibitor and a β-blocker at baseline (n = 1610), mortality was significantly higher in the valsartan group than in the placebo group.
▲ The most common adverse events in the valsartan and placebo groups which led to discontinuation of treatment were dizziness, renal impairment (both of which occurred in significantly more valsartan recipients) and hypotension.
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