Comparison of the angiotensin II antagonist losartan with the angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor enalapril in patients with essential hypertension

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Abstract

Objective:

To evaluate the blood pressure lowering efficacy as well as tolerability and safety of the angiotensin II antagonist losartan compared with that of the angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor enalapril in patients with mild-to-moderate essential hypertension.

Design and methods:

The study was a multicentre, double-blind, double-dummy, randomized, parallel study. Patients (n=407) with diastolic blood pressure >95 and <120mmHg at the end of a 2-week baseline placebo period were randomly allocated to receive either 50 mg losartan once a day or 20 mg enalapril once a day for 12 weeks. Blood pressure, clinical and laboratory safety, specific symptoms including coughing determined using a symptoms questionnaire and metabolic variables were examined at baseline and at weeks 6 and 12.

Results:

Both losartan and enalapril decreased systolic and diastolic blood pressure from baseline at weeks 6 and 12. Blood pressure changes from baseline at trough (22-26 h after the dose) did not differ between the two groups in the per-protocol analysis. Response to treatment at trough was excellent or good (diastolic blood pressure <90mmHg or reduction in diastolic blood pressure of lOmmHg) in 51 and 53% of the patients in the losartan and enalapril groups, respectively. Enalapril administration increased dry coughing symptoms whereas losartan did not. The incidence of dry coughing was 1.0 and 12.2% as a spontaneously reported discomfort at week 12 and 3.0 and 15.1% as a clinical adverse experience in the losartan and enalapril groups, respectively. The difference from baseline at week 12 in the incidence of dry coughing between the two groups was 14.9% as a specific symptom in the symptoms questionnaire. Losartan reduced serum uric acid concentration, whereas effects on other metabolic parameters did not differ between the groups.

Conclusions:

Losartan is an effective and we 11-tolerated antihypertensive drug showing similar blood-pressure-lowering efficacy to that of enalapril at trough. However, in contrast to enalapril, losartan does not increase the incidence of dry coughing. Thus, the angiotensin II antagonist losartan provides a promising new approach to treatment of hypertension.

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