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Renin-angiotensin system blockade and cognitive function in patients at high risk of cardiovascular disease: analysis of data from the ONTARGET and TRANSCEND studies


Anderson, Craig, Teo, Koon, Gao, Peggy, Arima, Hisatomi, Dans, Antonio, Unger, Thomas, Commerford, Patrick, Dyal, Leanne, Schumacher, Helmut, Pogue, Janice, Paolasso, Ernesto, Holwerda, Nicolaas, Chazova, Irina, Binbrek, Azan, Young, James, Yusuf, Salim


The Lancet. Neurology, Volume: 10, No.: 1, Pages.: 43-53

Year of Publication



Background: cardiovascular risk factors are associated with dementia and cognitive decline. We investigated the effects of renin-angiotensin system blockade on cognitive function in patients aged 55 years and older with established atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease or diabetes with end-organ damage in two clinical trials.; Methods: in the main study, ONTARGET, a double-blind, double-dummy, randomised controlled trial, the effects on cardiovascular outcomes of standard doses of an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor (ramipril), an angiotensin-receptor blocker (telmisartan), and a combination of the drugs were evaluated in 25 620 participants. In the parallel TRANSCEND trial, the effects of telmisartan were compared with those of placebo in 5926 participants intolerant to ACE inhibitors. Secondary outcomes included cognitive impairment (defined by investigator-reported diagnosis of dementia or significant cognitive dysfunction, or a score of ≤ 23 on the Mini-Mental State Examination [MMSE]) and cognitive decline (a decrease of ≤ 3 points on the MMSE from baseline during follow-up). Analyses were by intention to treat. We pooled data from these studies to identify baseline predictors of cognitive impairment and its frequency according to mean systolic blood pressure during follow-up. These studies were registered with, number NCT00153101.; Findings: During a median duration of 56 months (IQR 51-64) of follow-up in ONTARGET, cognitive impairment occurred in 652 (8%) of 7865 patients allocated ramipril, 584 (7%) of 7797 allocated telmisartan, and 618 (8%) of 7807 allocated combination treatment (combination vs ramipril, odds ratio [OR] 0·95, 95% CI 0·85-1·07, p= 0·39; telmisartan vs ramipril, OR 0·90, 0·80-1·01, p = 0·06). Corresponding figures for cognitive decline were 1314 (17%), 1279 (17%), and 1240 (17%) in each of the groups, respectively (telmisartan vs ramipril, OR 0·97, 0·89-1·06, p= 0·53; combination vs ramipril, OR 0·95, 0·88-1·04, p=0·28). In TRANSCEND, cognitive impairment occurred in 239 (9%) of 2694 participants allocated telmisartan compared with 245 (9%) of 2689 allocated placebo (OR 0·97, 0·81-1·17, p= 0·76). The corresponding figures for cognitive decline were 454 (17%) and 412 (16%; OR 1·10, 0·95-1·27, p= 0·22).; Interpretation: In patients with cardiovascular disease or diabetes, different approaches to blocking of the renin-angiotensin system had no clear effects on cognitive outcomes. Although patients with the lowest systolic blood pressure had the greatest preservation of cognitive function, meta-regression analyses did not show any benefits of blood-pressure lowering on cognition over several years of treatment.;

Bibtex Citation

@article{Anderson_2011, doi = {10.1016/s1474-4422(10)70250-7}, url = {}, year = 2011, month = {jan}, publisher = {Elsevier {BV}}, volume = {10}, number = {1}, pages = {43--53}, author = {Craig Anderson and Koon Teo and Peggy Gao and Hisatomi Arima and Antonio Dans and Thomas Unger and Patrick Commerford and Leanne Dyal and Helmut Schumacher and Janice Pogue and Ernesto Paolasso and Nicolaas Holwerda and Irina Chazova and Azan Binbrek and James Young and Salim Yusuf}, title = {Renin-angiotensin system blockade and cognitive function in patients at high risk of cardiovascular disease: analysis of data from the {ONTARGET} and {TRANSCEND} studies}, journal = {The Lancet Neurology} }


adverse effects, aged, aged, 80 and over, and, angiotensin receptor antagonists, angiotensinconverting enzyme inhibitors, atherosclerotic, benzimidazoles, benzoates, cardiovascular, cardiovascular diseases, chemically induced, cognition disorders, damage, diabetes, disease, double-blind method, drug effects, drug therapy, drug therapy combination, endorgan, established, female, humans, male, mental status schedule, neuropsychological tests, odds ratio, older, or, patients, physiology, ramipril, reninangiotensin system, telmisartan, therapeutic use, treatment outcome, with, years

Countries of Study


Types of Dementia

Dementia (general / unspecified)

Types of Study

Randomised Controlled Trial

Type of Outcomes


Type of Interventions

Risk Factor Modification

Risk Factor Modifications

At risk population

Pharmaceutical Interventions