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The benefits of blood pressure control on the risks of major cardiovascular events are well established. In clinical trials conducted in patients with mild-to-moderate hypertension, the angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB) telmisartan has been shown to provide reduction of blood pressure throughout the 24-h dosing interval. Clinical trials have also demonstrated that ARBs are effective agents in reducing the risk of cardiovascular mortality, stroke, heart failure and new-onset atrial fibrillation. Recently, the ONgoing Telmisartan Alone and in combination with Ramipril Global Endpoint Trial (ONTARGET) study established that telmisartan reduces morbidity and mortality in a broad cross-section of patients at high risk for heart and vascular events, to an extent similar to that of the angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor ramipril. In addition, ONTARGET demonstrated that telmisartan is somewhat better tolerated than ramipril. Attributes such as effective blood pressure lowering, tolerability and convincing outcomes data mean that ARBs satisfy the requirements for first-line antihypertensive agents.