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Results of the ONTARGET study, presented today at the American College of Cardiology’s 57th Annual Scientific Sessions, and published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), show that telmisartan (Micardis – an angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB) provides highly effective protection against cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and strokes. Telmisartan is currently licensed in the UK for the treatment of essential hypertension.
In ONTARGET, a study conducted among a high cardiovascular risk population of 25,600 patients with evidence of existing disease, 83.3% of those receiving telmisartan 80mg remained free from a cardiovascular event after a period of 5 years. This was equivalent to the 83.5% who remained event-free when treated with the ACE inhibitor ramipril 10mg (95% confidence interval, 0.94 to 1.09), the current gold standard preventative treatment. Importantly, those treated with telmisartan experienced significantly fewer side effects than those on ramipril, meaning that they stayed on treatment longer and were able to benefit from the protection telmisartan provides.1
“ONTARGET is hugely important because UK doctors now have the evidence that an ARB, telmisartan, is as effective as an ACE inhibitor in preventing cardiovascular events. We can now be confident that with telmisartan we have a potential new treatment option that is better tolerated and that patients may prefer to take,” commented Bryan Williams, Professor of Medicine at the University of Leicester and an ONTARGET investigator.
The study also investigated whether the combination of telmisartan and ramipril provided a greater reduction in cardiovascular events when compared to ramipril alone. The results of ONTARGET showed however that there was no additional cumulative benefit of telmisartan and ramipril together.
“The results of this landmark study could change the way we currently manage those at risk of cardiovascular disease, which accounts for approximately four in every ten deaths in the UK and costs the economy as much as £26 billion a year,” commented Professor Stephen Ball, British Heart Foundation Professor of Cardiology, University of Leeds. “Although there have been steady improvements since the National Service Framework (NSF) for coronary heart disease was introduced, we simply can’t afford to take our eyes off the ball with the vast numbers of those living with the daily risk of heart attack and stroke”
ONTARGET is the largest cardiovascular trial ever undertaken with an ARB. Conducted over a period of five years, it involved more than 25,600 people across 40 countries with a wide range of cardiovascular risk factors and with normal or controlled blood pressure.