Valsartan, a new angiotensin II antagonist for the treatment of essential hypertension: efficacy and safety compared with placebo and enalapril

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ObjectiveTo compare the antihypertensive efficacy and systemic tolerability of valsartan, a new angiotensin II receptor antagonist, with placebo and with an angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor, enalapril.DesignA total of 348 adult outpatients with mild-to-moderate uncomplicated essential hypertension participated in this double-blind, parallel, study. Patients were allocated randomly in a ratio of 2:2:1 to receive 80mg valsartan once a day, 20 mg enalapril once a day, or placebo for 8 weeks in general practice. Patients were assessed at 4 and 8 weeks of therapy.Main outcome measuresThe primary efficacy variable was the change from baseline in mean sitting diastolic blood pressure (SDBP) after 8 weeks of therapy. Secondary variables included the change in sitting systolic blood pressure (SSBP) and response rates at 8 weeks.ResultsValsartan and enalapril produced statistically significant reductions in diastolic and systolic blood pressures compared with placebo. Similar falls were found in both of the active treatment groups with mean changes in SDBP at 8 weeks of — 9.5mmHg for valsartan and — 9.4mmHg for enalapril ( 4.5mmHg for placebo). No significant differences between valsartan and enalapril were found for reductions in SDBP or SSBP. Response rates at 8 weeks were significantly greater for valsartan (54%) and enalapril (58%) than for placebo (20%), with no significant difference between the two active treatments. Both valsartan and enalapril demonstrated a consistent a nti hypertensive effect over time, with 90% of patients with a response at 4 weeks responding at 8 weeks. Both of the treatments were tolerated well. Although the incidence of coughing was generally low in the study, more cases were reported with enalapril (three) than with valsartan (one) or placebo (none).ConclusionsThe data show 80 mg valsartan once a day to be as effective as 20 mg enalapril once a day in the treatment of mild-to-moderate hypertension. Valsartan is tolerated well and does not appear to be associated with any increase in the incidence of coughing.

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