Objective: To compare the efficacy and safety of the angiotensin II antagonist olmesartan medoxomil (O) and the ACE inhibitor ramipril (R) in elderly patients with essential arterial hypertension.
Methods: After a 2-week placebo wash-out 1102 treated or untreated elderly hypertensive patients aged 65–89 years (office sitting diastolic blood pressure, DBP, 90–109 mmHg and/or office sitting systolic blood pressure, SBP, 140–179 mmHg) were randomized double-blind to 12-week treatment with O 10 mg or R 2.5 mg once-daily. After the first 2 and 6 weeks doses could be doubled in non-normalized [blood pressure (BP) < 140/90 mmHg for nondiabetic and < 130/80 mmHg for diabetic) individuals, up to 40 mg for O and 10 mg for R. Office BPs were assessed at randomization, after 2, 6 and 12 weeks of treatment, whereas 24-h ambulatory BP was recorded at randomization and after 12 weeks.
Results: In the intention-to-treat population (542 patients O and 539 R) after 12 weeks of treatment baseline-adjusted office SBP and DBP reductions were greater (P < 0.01) with O [17.8 (95% confidence interval: 16.8/18.9) and 9.2 (8.6/9.8) mmHg] than with R [15.7 (14.7/16.8) and 7.7 (7.1/8.3) mmHg]. BP normalization rate was also greater under O (52.6 vs. 46.0% R, P < 0.05). In the subgroup of patients with valid ambulatory BP recording (318 O and 312 R) the reduction in 24-h average BP was larger (P < 0.05) with O [SBP: 11.0 (12.2/9.9) and DBP: 6.5 (7.2/5.8) mmHg] than with R [9.0 (10.2/7.9) and 5.4 (6.1/4.7) mmHg]. The larger blood pressure reduction obtained with O was particularly evident in the last 6 h from the dosing interval; a better homogeneity of the 24-h BP control with O was confirmed by higher smoothness indices. The proportion of patients with drug-related adverse events was comparable in the two groups (3.6 O vs. 3.6% R), as well as the number of patients discontinuing study drug because of a side effect (14 O vs. 19 R).
Conclusion: In elderly patients with essential arterial hypertension O provides an effective, prolonged and well tolerated BP control, representing a useful option among first-line drug treatments of hypertension in this age group.