Patients receiving hypertension treatment based on Pfizer’s calcium channel blocker Norvasc (amlodipine) experienced significant reductions in cardiovascular mortality and all cause mortality, and also had significantly fewer heart attacks and strokes, according to the full data from the so-called Ascot trial, which was halted ahead of schedule late last year [[09/12/04a]].

The preliminary results of the 20,000-patient trial were presented yesterday at the annual American College of Cardiology meeting, and showed that patients receiving the regimen, which comprised Norvasc and CV Therapeutics’ Aceon (perindopril), demonstrated a 25% reduction in cardiovascular death and a 15% reduction in total mortality versus a standard beta-blocker based regimen. However, the trial failed to meet its primary endpoint, with a not statistically significant 10% of patients experiencing a reduction in fatal coronary heart disease and non-fatal heart attack. Nevertheless, there were significant reductions in stroke, coronary events, and patients were also less likely to develop diabetes compared to patients taking the beta-blocker based regimen.

“It is clear, based on these preliminary ASCOT results, as well as previous studies, that a Norvasc based blood-pressure lowering treatment regimen results in cardiovascular benefits for patients with high blood pressure,” said Joseph Feczko, Pfizer’s chief medical officer. “We look forward to seeing the final study results.”

The ASCOT trial also included a lipid-lowering arm, which was stopped early in October 2002 due to a significant benefit in the reduction of heart attacks in patients treated with the firm’s cholesterol-lowerer, Lipitor (atorvastatin) [[14/10/02d]].