New data support early intervention with Atacand® for patients with acute ischaemic stroke

December 06, 2001

(Bielefeld, Germany, 28 November 2001) - New data investigating the effect of antihypertensive treatment with Atacand® (candesartan cilexetil), in acute stroke patients with elevated blood pressure, were presented today at the 25th Scientific Meeting of the German Hypertension Society.

The new ACCESS* data clearly define the benefit and safety from early antihypertensive intervention with Atacand® for patients suffering from acute ischaemic stroke.

These data reveal that the risk for the combined endpoint of total mortality, cerebral complications and cardiovascular complications, was reduced by 47.5 percent for patients treated with Atacand® (4-16 mg) (initiated within 72 hrs post stroke).

"ACCESS is an important new study because it shows Atacand® to be the first antihypertensive drug to improve outcomes for acute ischaemic stroke patients with high blood pressure", commented lead investigator Prof. J. Schrader, St.-Josefs-Hospital. "The new data will prove extremely useful, providing guidance to physicians involved with the daily management of patients with acute ischaemic stroke. The safety aspects of early intervention with Atacand® were highlighted as an important benefit for this vulnerable patient group."

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the world today and a leading cause of adult disability 1,2,3. Each year, stroke affects nearly 20 million people worldwide and of these, approximately five million people die. Of the fifteen million people who suffer non-fatal strokes, a third are left disabled, and at least one in six will experience a second stroke within five years 3.

The final results of the ACCESS study confirm the encouraging preliminary analysis which led to trial recruitment being prematurely stopped with 342 randomised patients (339 valid for statistical evaluation) in March 2001.

Atacand® is a selective angiotensin II type 1 (AT1) receptor blocker and is the first antihypertensive therapy to show a benefit with early treatment for acute ischaemic stroke patients with high blood pressure.

AstraZeneca is a major international healthcare business engaged in the research, development, manufacture and marketing of ethical (prescription) pharmaceuticals and the supply of healthcare services. It is one of the top five pharmaceutical companies in the world with healthcare sales of over $15.8 billion and leading positions in sales of gastrointestinal, oncology, anaesthesia including pain management, cardiovascular, central nervous system (CNS) and respiratory products. AstraZeneca has more than 40 years experience in cardiovascular medicine and aims to increase lifespan and improve quality of life by reducing the risk, prevalence and impact of cardiovascular disease. AstraZeneca has a comprehensive cardiovascular portfolio including Atacand®, Zestril®, Seloken ZOK® / Toprol XL® and Plendil®. This heritage is complemented by an innovative pipeline including CRESTOR™, a new treatment for dyslipidaemia, the first oral direct thrombin inhibitor, Exanta®, and a novel treatment for type 2 diabetes / insulin resistance (AZ 242).
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1. The European Stroke Initiative -
2. American Heart Association -
3. PROGRESS Collaborative Group. Randomised trial of a perindopril-based blood-pressure-lowering regimen among 6105 individuals with previous stroke or transient ischaemic attack. Lancet 2001; 358: 1033-1041

Notes to editors

* The ACCESS study (Acute Candesartan Cilexetil Evaluation in Stroke Survivors) is a double- with 342 randomised patients (339 valid for statistical evaluation) from 53 centres across Germany, looking at the use of Atacand in acute stroke patients with high blood pressure. The objective of the study was to compare the effects of an early (initiated within 72 hrs post stroke) vs. delayed (>7 days post event) antihypertensive treatment with Atacand for this patient population with the primary end point being total mortality and disability after 3 months. Secondary endpoints assessed at 3 and 12 months were a combined criterion of: total mortality, cerebral complications and cardiovascular complications.

* Candesartan cilexetil, is an AT1-receptor blocker which was discovered by Takeda Chemical Industries, Ltd. and has been developed jointly by AstraZeneca and Takeda. The product is now available in most countries under the trade names Atacand® and/or Blopress® by AstraZeneca and Takeda respectively.

Ketchum UK

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