Effects of telmisartan on fat distribution: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

<p><b>Objectives</b>: Several meta-analyses have confirmed the positive metabolic effects of telmisartan, an angiotensin II receptor blocker that can also act as a partial peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ agonist, compared to those of other angiotensin II receptor blockers. These effects include decreased fasting glucose, glycosylated hemoglobin, interleukin-6, and tumor necrosis factor-α levels. However, no systemic analysis of telmisartan’s effects on body fat distribution has been performed. We performed a meta-analysis of randomized controlled telmisartan trials to investigate its effects on body weight, fat distribution, and visceral adipose reduction. <b>Research design and methods</b>: A literature search was performed using Embase, MEDLINE, and the Cochrane Library between January 1966 and November 2013. Randomized controlled trials in English and meeting the following criterion were included: random assignment of hypertensive participants with overweight/obesity, metabolic syndrome, or glucose intolerance to telmisartan or control therapy group. <b>Results</b>: Of 651 potentially relevant reports, 15 satisfied the inclusion criterion. While visceral fat area was significantly lower in the telmisartan group than in the control group (weighted mean difference = −18.13 cm<sup>2</sup>, 95% C.I. = −27.16 to −9.11, <i>P<sub>χ</sub></i><sup>2</sup> = 0.19, <i>I</i><sup>2</sup> = 41%), subcutaneous fat area was similar (weighted mean difference =2.94 cm<sup>2</sup>, 95% C.I. = −13.01 to 18.89, <i>P<sub>χ</sub></i><sup>2</sup> = 0.30, <i>I</i><sup>2</sup> = 17%). Total cholesterol levels were significantly different between the groups (standardized mean difference = −0.24, 95% C.I. = −0.45 to −0.03, <i>P<sub>χ</sub></i><sup>2</sup> = 0.0002, <i>I</i><sup>2</sup> = 67%). <b>Limitations</b>: Limitations include: (1) limited number of studies, especially those evaluating fat distribution; (2) different imaging modalities to assess visceral fat area (V.F.A.) and subcutaneous fat area (S.F.A.); (3) observed heterogeneity. <b>Conclusion</b>: The findings suggest that telmisartan affected fat distribution, inducing visceral fat reduction, and thus could be useful in hypertensive patients with obesity/overweight, metabolic syndrome, or glucose intolerance.</p>