Current opinion in cardiology vol:22 issue:4 pages:335-343
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: We examined the role of blood pressure-lowering compared with class-specific properties of antihypertensive drugs in cardiovascular prevention. RECENT FINDINGS: We reviewed recently published trials and meta-regression analyses. SUMMARY: From 150,000 to 180,000 randomized patients followed up from 3 to 5 years were required to demonstrate a 10-15% benefit 'beyond blood pressure lowering' of newer antihypertensive drugs, such as calcium channel blockers or angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors in the prevention of cause-specific cardiovascular complications. Assuming an absolute risk of new-onset diabetes mellitus on older drugs of approximately 10% over 5 years and a relative benefit on the newer drugs of approximately 30%, about 100 patients would have to be treated for 5 years with the newer agents to avert approximately three iatrogenic cases of diabetes. Whether or not new-onset diabetes is associated with increased risk is uncertain. In most patients, optimization of treatment at acceptable tolerance requires rotation through and combination of several drug classes. Combination of different classes of antihypertensive drugs not only enhances the blood pressure-lowering efficacy, but likely decreases the risk of metabolic adverse effects as well. True benefit beyond blood pressure lowering in hypertensive patients comes from multiple risk factor intervention.