Background Based on non-clinical data, it is expected that azilsartan, an angiotensin II receptor blocker, will help improve insulin resistance in addition to its hypotensive action. The present study is aimed to explore the effect of azilsartan compared to telmisartan on insulin sensitivity in hypertensive patients in the clinical setting. Methods This multicenter, randomized, open-label, parallel-group exploratory study was conducted in Japan. We randomized adult patients (20 years old) with grade I or II essential hypertension and coexisting type 2 diabetes (1:1) to receive either oral azilsartan (20 mg/day;17 patients) or telmisartan (40 mg/day;16 patients) for 12 weeks. The primary endpoint was the change in the homeostasis model assessment ratio of insulin resistance (HOMA-R) from the baseline at the end of the treatment period. We also evaluated its safety and efficacy on other diabetes-related variables and blood pressure. Findings The mean changes in HOMA-R at the end of treatment were 0.22 (95% CI, −1.09–1.52) in the azilsartan group and −0.23 (95% CI, −0.72–0.27) in the telmisartan group. We found no clinically remarkable changes between the groups in diabetes-related variables such as fasting blood glucose, fasting insulin, HbA1c (NGSP), HOMA-β, or 1,5-anhydroglucitol. Reductions in clinic systolic and diastolic blood pressure were observed at week 4 and the reduced levels were maintained throughout the treatment period in both groups. No serious treatment-emergent adverse events (TEAEs) were observed. Only one drug-related TEAE (mild decrease in blood pressure) was reported in one patient in the azilsartan group. Conclusion Neither azilsartan nor telmisartan had any clinically remarkable effects on insulin resistance parameters when administered for 12 weeks to patients with grade I or II essential hypertension and coexisting type 2 diabetes mellitus. Azilsartan (20 mg/day) and telmisartan (40 mg/ day) exerted comparable antihypertensive effects.
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