(HealthDay News) – For elderly patients with peripheral artery disease and intermittent leg pain during walking, ramipril treatment for six months improves pain-free walking times and improves quality of life, according to a study published in the Feb. 6 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Anna A. Ahimastos, PhD, from the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia, and colleagues randomly assigned 212 patients (mean age, 65.5 years) with peripheral artery disease and intermittent claudication to receive placebo or 10mg/day of the angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor ramipril for 24 weeks in a 1:1 ratio.

At six months, the researchers found that the ramipril group had a mean 75-second increase in pain-free walking time (P<0.001) and a mean 255-second increase in maximum walking time (P<0.001). Walking ability, as assessed by the Walking Impairment Questionnaire, was significantly improved in the ramipril group in the median distance score, speed score, and stair climbing score. Quality of life, as assessed by the Short-Form 36 Health Survey (SF-36), improved for the ramipril group in terms of the median Physical Component Summary score but not the median Mental Component Summary score.

“Among patients with intermittent claudication, 24-week treatment with ramipril resulted in significant increases in pain-free and maximum treadmill walking times compared with placebo,” Ahimastos and colleagues conclude. “This was associated with a significant increase in the physical functioning component of the SF-36 score.”

Two authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies, including Sanofi-Aventis, a marketer of ramipril.

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