Background: The benefits of treating hypertension in elderly diabetic patients, in terms of achieving reductions in cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, have been documented in several recent prospective trials. There has, however, been some controversy regarding the effect of different antihypertensive drugs on the frequency of myocardial infarction in this group of patients.
Design: STOP Hypertension-2 was a prospective, randomized, open trial with blinded endpoint evaluation.
Methods: We studied 6614 elderly patients aged 70-84 years; 719 of them had diabetes mellitus at the start of the study (mean age 75.8 years). Patients were randomly assigned to one of three treatment strategies: conventional antihypertensive drugs (diuretics or beta-blockers), calcium antagonists, or angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors.
Results: Reduction in blood pressure was similar in the three treatment groups of diabetics. The prevention of cardiovascular mortality was also similar; the frequency of this primary endpoint did not differ significantly between the three groups. There were, however, significantly fewer (P = 0.025) myocardial infarctions during ACE inhibitor treatment (n = 17) than during calcium antagonist treatment (n = 32; relative risk 0.51, 95% confidence interval 0.28-0.92); but a (non-significant) tendency to more strokes during ACE inhibitor treatment (n = 34 compared with n = 29; relative risk 1.16, 95% confidence interval 0.71-1.91).
Conclusion: Treatment of hypertensive diabetic patients with conventional antihypertensive drugs (diuretics, beta-blockers, or both) seemed to be as effective as treatment with newer drugs such as calcium antagonists or ACE inhibitors.