Angiotensin Receptor Blockers as anti-hypertensive treatment for patients with diabetes mellitus: meta-analysis of controlled double-blind randomized trials

To assess the evidence for possible reduction of all-cause mortality, cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, and end-stage renal disease in diabetic patients treated with angiotensin II type 1 receptor blockers (ARBs) as an anti-hypertensive treatment.


Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized, double-blind controlled trials of at least 1 year's duration. ARBs were used in the intervention group vs. placebo or standard anti-hypertensive treatment in the control group. The main outcome measures were all-cause mortality, cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, and end-stage renal disease.


Three studies fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Separate analyses were conducted for comparisons of ARBs with groups given placebo and those given standard anti-hypertensive treatment. There was no significant difference in mortality between the ARBs and placebo groups, with an estimated odds ratio (OR) of 0.99 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.81, 1.20]. There was a non-significant difference in patients treated with ARBs compared with standard anti-hypertensive treatment, with an OR of 0.78 (95% CI 0.45, 1.36). No statistically significant difference in cardiovascular morbidity and mortality between the intervention and placebo groups was found, with an OR of 0.91 (95% CI 0.77, 1.08). When ARBs were compared with standard treatment, the OR was estimated at 0.85 (0.54, 1.33). Data on end-stage renal disease were available for two studies comparing ARBs vs. placebo and showed a statistically significant advantage of ARBs, with an OR of 0.73 (95% CI 0.6, 0.89). As only one study compared end-stage renal disease outcome for ARBs vs. standard treatment, a meta-analysis was not possible. This study reported a considerable benefit of ARBs [OR = 0.73 (0.54, 1.01)] compared with the calcium channel blocker amlodipine.


ARBs failed to show significant reduction in total mortality and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in diabetic patients. The only statistical benefit was the reduction of end-stage renal disease compared with placebo. Therefore, at this time ARBs have not proved to be superior to standard anti-hypertensive treatment in diabetic patients.


Siebenhofer A, Plank J, Horvath K, Berghold A, Sutton AJ, Sommer R, Pieber TR.
Diabet Med. 2004 Jan; 21(1): 18-25.

Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Diabetes and Metabolism, Karl-Franzens University Hospital, Department of Internal Medicine, Knittelfeld Hospital and Institute for Medical Informatics, Statistics and Documentation, Karl-Franzens University, Graz, Austria, and Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK.