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A Journal on Heart and Vascular Diseases

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Angiology and Vascular Pathology
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Minerva Cardioangiologica 2000 June;48(6):183-200


language: English, Italian

Treatment of arterial hypertension in the elderly with diltiazem vs ramipril

Terranova R., Luca S.


Background. Around 40% of the elderly population suffer from arterial hypertension. An effective antihypertensive treatment is therefore required. Calcium antagonists are used to treat hypertension because, owing to their mechanism of action, they can provoke systemic, as well as coronary vasodilatation. In this study the authors aimed to evaluate the activity and tolerability of diltiazem compared to ramipril in a group of elderly patients suffering from essential arterial hypertension.
Methods. A controlled single-blind study was performed in which patients were randomly assigned to one of two groups, A and B, consisting of 25 patients each, treated respectively with 300 mg sustained-release diltiazem or 5 mg ramipril in a single daily dose. The study lasted 6 months and evaluated systolic and diastolic pressure and heart rate.
Results. The evolution was positive in all patients in Group A and most patients in Group B, with the normalisation of both systolic and diastolic values. Heart rate showed a more persistent fall in Group A, but this was expected owing to the mechanism of action of diltiazem. No patient in Group A had to suspend treatment, whereas one patient in Group B had to interrupt therapy following the onset of a persistent cough.
Conclusions. Both treatments resulted in similar changes in systolic and diastolic arterial blood pressure. In the light of these results, it can be affirmed that, at an oral dose of 300 mg/day, sustained-release diltiazem was found to be effective and well tolerated in the treatment of mild to moderate essential arterial hypertension in the aged.

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