Antihypertensive treatment and stroke prevention: are angiotensin receptor blockers superior to other antihypertensive agents?Ther Adv Cardiovasc Dis. 2009 Jun; 3(3):197-204.TA
Stroke remains a common vascular event with high mortality and morbidity. After heart disease, stroke is the second leading cause of death worldwide in adult persons. Silent or subclinical stroke is likely to occur with even greater frequency than clinical stroke and increases the risk of subsequent cerebrovascular events. Hypertension is by far the single most important controllable risk factor for stroke. The relationship between blood pressure (BP) and stroke mortality is strong, linear, and continuous in subjects with levels of BP higher than 115/75 mm Hg. Blood pressure reduction by antihypertensive treatment is clearly efficacious in the prevention of stroke (both primary and secondary). Although meta-analyses suggest that BP reduction, per se, is the most important determinant for stroke risk reduction, the question is if specific classes of antihypertensive drugs offer special protection against stroke is still controversial. Some studies have suggested that angiotensin receptors blockers (ARBs) appear to offer additional protection against stroke. This has been hypothesized in studies in hypertensives, such as LIFE and SCOPE, and especially in the only comparative trial focused on secondary stroke prevention. In the MOSES trial, the comparison of eprosartan versus nitrendipine in patients with a previous stroke resulted, despite a similar BP reduction, in a significant reduction in the primary composite endpoint of total mortality plus cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events, including recurrent events. These results may suggest a blood pressure-independent effect of ARBs, which can be mediated through several mechanisms, including their ability to counteract other markers of target organ damage, but also through a direct neuroprotective effect.