October 13, 2008

Blood Pressure Drug Helps Reduce Plaque

Olmesartan, a drug commonly used to treat high blood pressure, may play a role in reducing coronary plaque, researchers in Japan said.

The trial was performed on 247 angina patients with native coronary artery lesions randomly assigned to receive 20 mg to 40mg/day of olmesartan or a placebo, and treated with a combination of beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, diuretics, nitrates, glycemic control agents and/or statins per physician's guidance.

Examinations were performed to assess the amount of coronary plaque before and 14 months after the start of treatment.

At the start of the trial, patient characteristics and measurements were identical between the two groups. However, after 14 months of treatment, the measurement showed significant decreases in measurements of plaque volume in the olmesartan group, despite similar blood pressure readings.

"Management of plaque is a key front in the war on sudden heart attack," lead author Dr. Atsushi Hirohata of the Sakakibara Heart Institute of Okayama, Okayama, Japan, said in a statement. "These results suggest a positive role in potential plaque regression through the administration of olmesartan for patients with stable angina pectoris."

The finding were presented at the 20th annual Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics scientific symposium Washington.