A review of the current evidence for the use of angiotensin-receptor blockers in chronic heart failure.Int J Clin Pract. 2005 May; 59(5):571-8.IJ
Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors have a central role in the management of heart failure, reflecting the contribution of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system to the pathophysiology of the condition. Angiotensin-receptor blockers (ARBs) bind specifically to the angiotensin type 1 receptor and may offer further benefits compared with ACE inhibitors. Candesartan, losartan and valsartan have all been evaluated in large clinical outcome trials in heart failure. They display marked differences in pharmacokinetics and receptor-binding properties that may contribute to observed differences in outcome. ELITE II found no significant difference in outcome with losartan as compared with captopril. In the Val-Heft trial, valsartan reduced heart failure hospitalisations when added to conventional therapy including an ACE inhibitor in most patients, but had no effect on mortality. The CHARM programme showed that candesartan reduced morbidity and mortality in heart failure with reduced systolic function, both when added to ACE inhibitor therapy or when used as an alternative in patients who are intolerant to ACE inhibitors. Moreover, the CHARM-preserved study suggested that candesartan is beneficial in patients with heart failure and preserved left-ventricular systolic function. A growing body of evidence show that ARBs are an important contribution to the pharmaceutical management of patients with heart failure.