Blood Pressure Meds: Old Vs. New

Angiotensin receptor blockers may be as effective as ACE inhibitors for blood pressure regulation

(RxWiki News) When it comes to blood pressure medications, the new may be just as good as the old.

In spite of past findings to the contrary, researchers from NYU Langone Medical Center found that angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) may be just as effective and safe as ACE inhibitors, a class of drugs developed nearly 10 years earlier.

"There has been debate for many years over the safety and efficacy of ACE inhibitors compared to ARBs, with many of them using an 'ACE inhibitor-first' approach, with ARBs regarded as less effective," said lead study author Sripal Bangalore, MD, an associate professor of cardiology at NYU Langone, in a press release. "We believe that our study ends the debate and gives physicians the option to prescribe either drug for their patients."

ACE inhibitors and ARBs work by interfering in different ways with the function of a hormone that regulates blood pressure in the body. ACE inhibitors prevent the production of this hormone. ARBs prevent it from sending signals to raise blood pressure by taking its place in protein receptors.

Past studies have found that ACE inhibitors were more effective than ARBs at regulating high blood pressure. But Dr. Bangalore said there is a "generation gap" between this study and past ones.

For this study, Dr. Bangalore and team looked at a total of 254,301 patients with high blood pressure from 106 separate trials. All trials were conducted after 2000.

When compared to placebo, ARBs were found to be an equally effective and safe alternative to ACE inhibitors for treating high blood pressure patients. No significant differences between the two treatments were found — except that ARBs were better tolerated overall.

This study was published in the January issue of the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Information on funding sources and conflicts of interest was not available at the time of publication.

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Review Date: 
January 7, 2016