Background: A combination of antihypertensive agents of different drug classes in a fixed-dose combination (FDC) may offer advantages in terms of efficacy, tolerability, and treatment compliance. Combination of a calcium channel blocker with an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor may act synergistically to reduce blood pressure (BP).
Objective: The aim of this study was to compare the efficacy and tolerability of an amlodipine/ramipril FDC with those of amlodipine monotherapy.
Methods: This 18-week, prospective, randomized, double-blind study was conducted at 8 centers across Brazil. Patients with stage 1 or 2 essential hypertension were enrolled. After a 2-week placebo run-in phase, patients received amlodipine/ramipril 2.5/2.5 mg or amlodipine 2.5 mg, after which the doses were titrated, based on BP, to 5/5 then 10/10 mg (amlodipine/ramipril) and 5 then 10 mg (amlodipine). The primary end point was BP measured in the intent-to-treat (ITT) population. Hematology and serum biochemistry were assessed at baseline and study end. Tolerability was assessed using patient interview, laboratory analysis, and physical examination, including measurement of ankle circumference to assess peripheral edema.
Results: A total of 222 patients completed the study (age range, 40-79 years; FDC group, 117 patients [mean dose, 7.60/7.60 mg]; monotherapy, 105 patients [mean dose, 7.97 mg]). The mean (SD) changes in systolic BP (SBP) and diastolic BP (DBP), as measured using 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) and in the physician's office, were significantly greater with combination therapy than monotherapy, with the exception of office DBP (ABPM, -20.76 [1.25] vs -15.80 [1.18] mm Hg and -11.71 [0.78] vs -8.61 [0.74] mm Hg, respectively [both, P = 0.004]; office, -27.51 [1.40] vs -22.84 [1.33] mm Hg [P = 0.012] and -16.41 [0.79] vs -14.64 [0.75] mm Hg [P = NS], respectively). In the ITT analysis, the mean changes in ambulatory, but not office-based, BP were statistically significant (ABPM: SBP, -20.21 [1.14] vs -15.31 [1.12] mm Hg and DBP, -11.61 [0.72] vs -8.42 [0.70] mm Hg, respectively [both, P = 0.002]; office: SBP, -26.60 [1.34] vs -22.97 [1.30] mm Hg and DBP, -16.48 [0.78] vs -14.48 [0.75] mm Hg [both, P = NS]). Twenty-nine patients (22.1%) treated with combination therapy and 41 patients (30.6%) treated with monotherapy experienced > or =1 adverse event considered possibly related to study drug. The combination-therapy group had lower prevalence of edema (7.6% vs 18.7%; P = 0.011) and a similar prevalence of dry cough (3.8% vs 0.8%; P = NS). No clinically significant changes in laboratory values were found in either group.
Conclusions: In this population of patients with essential hypertension, the amlodipine/ramipril FDC was associated with significantly reduced ambulatory and office-measured BP compared with amlodipine monotherapy, with the exception of office DBP. Both treatments were well tolerated.