OBJECTIVE - To compare the long-term effect on kidney function of a long-acting calcium antagonist (nisoldipine) versus a long-acting ACE inhibitor (lisinopril) in hypertensive type 1 diabetic patients with diabetic nephropathy RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS - We performed a 4-year prospective, randomized, double-dummy controlled study comparing nisoldipine (20-40 mg once a day) with lisinopril (10-20 mg once a day). The study was double-blinded for the first year and single-blinded thereafter. The study included 51 hypertensive type 1 diabetic patients with diabetic nephropathy. Three patients dropped out during the first month; results for the remaining 48 patients are presented. RESULTS - At baseline, the two groups were comparable: glomerular filtration rate (GFR) was 85 ± 5 and 85 ± 6 ml · min-1 · [1.73 m]-2; mean 24-h ambulatory blood pressure was 108 ± 3 and 105 ± 2 mmHg, and albuminuria was 1,554 mg/24 h (95% CI 980-2,465) and 1,033 mg/24 h (760-1,406) in the lisinopril and nisoldipine groups, respectively. Mean 24-h arterial blood pressure during the study did not differ between the lisinopril and nisoldipine groups (100 ± 2 and 103 ± 1 mmHg, respectively). The time-course of albuminuria differed between groups (P < 0.001). Whereas initiation of treatment with lisinopril resulted in a reduction from baseline albuminuria by 52% (95% CI 14-73), albuminuria in the nisoldipine group did not change throughout the study. GFR declined in a biphasic manner with an initial (0-6 months) reduction of 1.3 ± 0.3 ml · min-1 · month-1 in the lisinopril group compared with 0.2 ± 0.4 ml · min-1 · month-1 in the nisoldipine group (P < 0.01). The subsequent sustained decline (6 to 48 months or the end of treatment) was identical in the two groups: 0.5 ± 0.1 ml · min-1 · month-1 (NS). Two patients in the lisinopril group and three patients in the nisoldipine group entered therapy for end-stage renal failure. CONCLUSIONS - Long-term treatment with lisinopril or nisoldipine has similar beneficial effects on progression of diabetic nephropathy in hypertensive type 1 diabetic patients.