The present study was designed to determine whether adding amlodipine further improved functional and structural cardiovascular damage in hypertensive patients whose blood pressure was already well controlled with an angiotensin II type 1 receptor blocker (ARB). The cardiothoracic ratio on chest radiographs, level of urinary albumin excretion, pulse wave velocity (PWV), intima-media thickness (IMT) of the carotid arteries, and 24 hour ambulatory blood pressure (BP) were evaluated before and 12 months after the start of add-on of amlodipine or placebo in 50 hypertensive patients being treated with an ARB. The add-on amlodipine therapy significantly improved the PWV from 1689 ± 61 to 1447 ± 47 cm/s and the IMT from 0.88 ± 0.08 to 0.75 ± 0.06 mm in the hypertensive patients treated with an ARB without altering their mean 24 hour ambulatory BP values, but did not alter the cardiothoracic ratio or urinary albumin excretion. Amlodipine also significantly decreased the variability of ambulatory BP, but the decrease did not significantly contribute to the changes in PWV or IMT. Thus, the add-on low-dose amlodipine therapy had benefits in terms of the vascular function and vascular structure of hypertensive patients treated with an ARB that were independent of its depressor effects. The antiatherogenic pleiotropic properties of amlodipine have a preventive effect on the progression of arterial stiffness in hypertensive patients treated with an ARB.
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