Challenges in improving prognosis and therapy: the Ongoing Telmisartan Alone and in Combination with Ramipril Global End point Trial programme.Expert Opin Pharmacother 2004; 5(5):1201-8EO
Hypertension is one of the most important modifiable risk factors for cardiovascular pathology, such as atherosclerosis and cardiac left ventricular hypertrophy, including acute events such as stroke and myocardial infarction (MI). In particular, the risk of ischaemic and haemorrhagic stroke is directly and continuously related to high blood pressure levels. The renin-angiotensin system (RAS) plays an important role in volume homeostasis and blood pressure regulation. It also helps to prevent cell and organ damage from ischaemia during acute volume loss. However, angiotensin-II (A-II)--the main effector peptide of the RAS--also exerts a number of pathological effects, which are mediated by the AT 1 receptor. The Ongoing Telmisartan Alone and in Combination with Ramipril Global End point Trial (ONTARGET) programme consists of two parallel trials where ONTARGET as a large, long-term study compares the efficacy of the angiotensin-receptor antagonist, telmisartan, the renin-angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor, ramipril and combination therapy with telmisartan plus ramipril for reducing cardiovascular and cerebral risk. Telmisartan, due to its long duration of action, compares favourably with other angiotensin-receptor antagonists. In the Heart Outcomes Prevention Evaluation (HOPE) study, ramipril was shown to reduce the risk for MI and other cardiovascular events in patients at high risk for pathological cardiac events, but without heart failure or a low ejection fraction. The cardiovascular outcomes of high-risk patients using the same criteria as those of the HOPE study will be assessed in both trials. TRANSCEND differs from ONTARGET in that this trial will enrol patients who do not tolerate ACE inhibitors. This parallel study will therefore be able to compare telmisartan and placebo treatment. Both ONTARGET and TRANSCEND trials feature the same primary composite end point: death caused by cardiovascular disease, acute MI, stroke and hospitalisation because of congestive heart failure. The secondary end points will focus on reductions in the development of Type 2 diabetes mellitus, nephropathy, cognitive decrease and dementia as well as atrial fibrillation.