Previous studies have shown that transient treatment of animal models of hypertension with an angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB) causes a sustained decrease in blood pressure values that persists even after the drug treatment is discontinued (J Am Soc Nephrol 12: 659-666, 2001; Nephron 91: 710-718, 2002; Hypertens Res 30: 63-75, 2007). These results have been shown to be clinically relevant by the recent TROPHY study (N Engl J Med 354: 1685-1697, 2006). We have recently found that transient treatment with an ARB may also cause regression of established hypertension in hypertensive rats (J Am Soc Nephrol 18: 157A, 2007). The Short Treatment with the Angiotensin Receptor Blocker Candesartan Surveyed by Telemedicine (STAR CAST) study is a prospective, randomized, open, blinded end-point study in patients aged 30-59 with a positive family history of hypertension that will be conducted in several centers in Japan. The aim of the study is to evaluate the antihypertensive drug withdrawal success rate, the median duration of drug withdrawal, and the changes in home and office blood pressure values in patients with mild hypertension after tapering and withdrawal of antihypertensive treatment following treatment for 1 year with the ARB candesartan or the calcium channel blocker (CCB) nifedipine slow-release. A unique feature of this study is the use of a home blood pressure monitoring telemedicine system (i-TECHO) to allow frequent evaluation of the changes in blood pressure in the trial patients. This study will be the first clinical study to examine if regression from stage 1 (mild) hypertension to prehypertension (high-normal blood pressure) is possible using an ARB or CCB.
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