It has been demonstrated that antihypertensive treatment of hypertensive diabetic patients is quite effective in preventing macrovascular and microvascular complications and improving prognosis. Nevertheless, the target blood pressure level of antihypertensive treatment in hypertensive diabetic patients with microalbuminuria (i.e., with early diabetic nephropathy) remains to be established. In this study, we evaluated the effect of intensive blood pressure control (diastolic blood pressure < 80 mmHg) on urinary albumin excretion in hypertensive, type II diabetic patients with microalbuminuria. We examined the effects of a combination therapy using an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor plus a long-acting calcium channel blocker (amlodipine), and compared them with the effect of an ACE inhibitor alone. Thirty hypertensive, type II diabetic patients with microalbuminuria were treated with either an ACE inhibitor alone (group I, n = 17) or an ACE inhibitor plus amlodipine (group II, n = 13) for 32 weeks. With treatment, blood pressures in both groups were significantly reduced, and diastolic blood pressure was lowered to a much greater extent in group II (76 ± 2 mmHg) than in group I (83 ± 2 mmHg, p < 0.05). Although the urinary albumin excretion rate was decreased in both groups, the decrease attained statistical significance only in group II (from 141 ± 25 mg/day to 69 ± 18 mg/day, p < 0.05); the extent of reduction in microalbuminuria during antihypertensive treatment was significantly greater in group II (50 ± 10%) than in group I (14 ± 13%, p < 0.05). In conclusion, this study showed that in hypertensive microalbuminuric type II diabetic patients, the combination of an ACE inhibitor plus amlodipine resulted in a more pronounced decreased in blood pressure (diastolic blood pressure < 80 mmHg) and a greater reduction in urinary albumin excretion than did use of an ACE inhibitor alone. This combination strategy should thus be a more effective tool for obtaining optimal blood pressure control in patients with diabetic nephropathy.
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