Some medications have been shown to produce reductions in hs-CRP levels after initiating therapy. Whereas the role of the renin-angiotensin system in the inflammatory process has been documented in more detail during the last few years, the impact of an ACE-inhibitor therapy on this process has not been fully understood so far. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of a therapy with the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor ramipril on hs-CRP plasma concentrations in patients with atherosclerosis.
Methods and results: A total of 24 patients were enrolled in this prospective, uncontrolled, open-label multicenter study. Inclusion criteria were documented atherosclerosis, baseline high-sensitivity C-reactive protein between 3 and 12 mg/l, LDL-Cholesterol < or =150 mg/dl and no previous treatment with ACE inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers. Ten patients, pretreated with statins, and 10 patients not previously treated with statins were eligible for statistical analysis. Baseline high-sensitivity C-reactive protein was significantly decreased from 3.99+/-1.61 mg/l (mean+/-SD) to 2.72+/-1.19 mg/l (-32%) after 3 months treatment with 10 mg ramipril daily (p=0.0002). The decrease was more pronounced in patients who had not been treated with statins previously (-1.50 mg/l+/-1.44 mg/l) compared to those who were pretreated (-0.90 mg/l+/-0.93 mg/l).
Conclusions: The ACE inhibitor ramipril administered in a daily dose of 10 mg to patients with atherosclerosis reduces the high-sensitivity C-reactive protein concentration. This effect may contribute to cardiovascular risk reduction mediated by ramipril aside from the blood pressure lowering effect.