Background: In the Valsartan Antihypertensive Long-term Use Evaluation (VALUE) trial the primary outcome (cardiac morbidity and mortality) did not differ between valsartan and amlodipine-based treatment groups, although systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure reductions were significantly more pronounced with amlodipine. Stroke incidence was non-significantly, and myocardial infarction was significantly lower in the amlodipine-based regimen, whereas cardiac failure was non-significantly lower on valsartan.
Objectives: The study protocol specified additional analyses of the primary endpoint according to: sex; age; race; geographical region; smoking status; type 2 diabetes; total cholesterol; left ventricular hypertrophy; proteinuria; serum creatinine; a history of coronary heart disease; a history of stroke or transient ischemic attack; and a history of peripheral artery disease. Additional subgroups were isolated systolic hypertension and classes of antihypertensive agents used immediately before randomization.
Methods: The 15,245 hypertensive patients participating in VALUE were divided into subgroups according to baseline characteristics. Treatment by subgroup interaction analyses were carried out by a Cox proportional hazard model. Within each subgroup, treatment effects were assessed by hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals.
Results: For cardiac mortality and morbidity, the only significant subgroup by treatment interaction was of sex (P = 0.016), with the hazard ratio indicating a relative excess of cardiac events with valsartan treatment in women but not in men, but SBP differences in favour of amlodipine were distinctly greater in women. No other subgroup showed a significant difference in the composite cardiac outcome between valsartan and amlodipine-based treatments. For secondary endpoints, a sex-related significant interaction was found for heart failure (P < 0.0001), with men but not women having a lower incidence of heart failure with valsartan.
Conclusion: As in the whole VALUE cohort, in no subgroup of patients were there differences in the incidence of the composite cardiac endpoint with valsartan and amlodipine-based treatments, despite a greater blood pressure decrease in the amlodipine group. The only exception was sex, in which the amlodipine-based regimen was more effective than valsartan in women, but not in men, whereas the valsartan regimen was more effective in preventing cardiac failure in men than in women.