The aim of this study was to compare the time-effect profiles of a once-daily administration of valsartan and amlodipine, each given alone or in combination with hydrochlorothiazide, in terms of ambulatory blood pressure (BP) and heart rate in elderly patients with isolated systolic hypertension.
One hundred and sixty-four elderly outpatients with systolic hypertension received valsartan 80 mg (n=79) or amlodipine 5 mg (n=85) once daily for eight weeks, after which the patients with poorly controlled office BP were up-titrated to valsartan 160 mg or amlodipine 10 mg once daily. If their office systolic BP was still >140 mmHg after eight weeks at these doses, 12.5 mg hydrochlorothiazide was added for a further eight weeks. The hourly BP decreases in all of the patients were calculated on the basis of 24-h ambulatory recordings made after the placebo period and at the end of active treatment. The trough/peak ratio and smoothness index were calculated in the responders.
Both the valsartan- and amlodipine-based treatments effectively lowered mean 24-h, daytime and night-time systolic ambulatory BP (all p<0.001) without any significant differences between the two regimens. Ambulatory heart rate decreased in the subjects on valsartan and slightly increased in those on amlodipine (the differences in 24-h and daytime heart rate were significant (p=0.008 and 0.002 respectively). Among the 138 responders, the valsartan-based treatment had a greater anti-hypertensive effect during the daytime hours (p=0.02), a difference that was also significant for average 24-h BP (p=0.02). The mean systolic BP trough/peak ratio was 0.56 in the patients on valsartan, and 0.77 in those on amlodipine (NS). The smoothness index was respectively 1.70 and 1.58 (NS).
The present results show that both the valsartan- and amlodipine-based treatments lead to a similar long-term reduction in 24-h systolic BP. However, in treatment responders, valsartan has a greater anti-hypertensive effect during the daytime.