Telmisartan (Micardis®, Pritor®), a well established angiotensin type 1 receptor antagonist, is indicated in the EU for the reduction of cardiovascular morbidity in patients with manifest atherothrombotic cardiovascular disease (CVD) or type 2 diabetes mellitus with documented target organ damage, as well as for the treatment of hypertension.
In the pivotal ONTARGET trial, which enrolled ACE inhibitor-tolerant patients at high vascular risk, telmisartan 80 mg once daily added to existing, proven therapy was noninferior to ramipril 10 mg once daily (the gold standard cardioprotective ACE inhibitor) in terms of CVD prevention. Moreover, telmisartan was better tolerated than ramipril, as reflected in, for example, lower incidences of permanent treatment discontinuations due to cough and angioedema. The placebo-controlled TRANSCEND and PRoFESS studies provided supporting evidence for the (time-dependent) effectiveness of telmisartan in preventing cardiovascular events, although the drug appeared to have neither a beneficial nor a harmful impact on cardiovascular mortality. The TRANSCEND trial also demonstrated that telmisartan was well tolerated in ACE inhibitor-intolerant patients at high vascular risk.
On the basis of these findings, telmisartan can be considered an effective treatment option for CVD prevention in patients at high vascular risk. Consideration may be given to prescribing the drug as an alternative to ramipril in patients who are able to tolerate ACE inhibitors and, potentially, instead of ramipril in patients who are unable to tolerate ACE inhibitors.