June 18, 2008

Drug May Reverse Vascular Damage

The hypertension medication olmesartan medoxomil helps reverse the narrowing of the arteries in patients with high blood pressure, U.S. researchers said.

Lead investigator Dr. Carlos M. Ferrario of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C., said the study evaluated the effects of an angiotensin receptor blocker -- olmesartan medoxomil -- versus a beta-blocker -- atenolol -- on vascular function and structure in patients with stage 1 hypertension.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Society of Hypertension, found after one year of treatment, olmesartan medoxomil improved the artery abnormalities in high blood pressure patients and returned arterial architecture to normal levels, Ferrario said. However, this was not seen with the atenolol.

Olmesartan medoxomil is a member of a class of anti-hypertensive medications that help lower blood pressure by blocking the angiotensin II receptor on the blood vessels that causes constriction and increase blood pressure. This medication also blocks the release of a hormone that causes salt retention and increased blood volume.

Olmesartan medoxomil is marketed in the United States as Benicar and in Europe as Olmetec by Daiichi Sankyo Inc., which funded the study.