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J Clin Pharmacol. 2000 Aug;40(8):815-25.

The future of clinical trials in chronic renal disease: outcome of an NIH/FDA/Physician Specialist Conference. Evaluation of Clinical Trial Endpoints in Chronic Renal Disease Study Group.

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  • 1Department of Preventive Medicine, Rush Hypertension Center, Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center, Chicago, IL 60612, USA.


For people with chronic renal insufficiency, the therapeutic goal is to prevent progression to end-stage renal disease, a serious condition that can only be treated with dialysis and kidney transplantation. Although restriction of dietary protein slows the progression of renal disease somewhat, the principal treatment to slow chronic renal disease is appropriate reduction of blood pressure. Antihypertensive agents, particularly those that produce sustained, long-term reductions in proteinuria, such as angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, not only decrease blood pressure but also preserve renal function. Clinical trials to evaluate these and other drug therapies in renal disease progression have used both "hard end points" (e.g., dialysis, transplantation, death) and intermediate end points of renal disease progression (e.g., doubling of serum creatinine concentration, reductions in proteinuria). Trials that have used hard end points typically recruited patients with advanced renal disease to demonstrate a difference in therapies within a period of 2 to 5 years. However, proteinuria reduction, along with a decrease in the time to doubling of serum creatinine in very early diabetic renal disease, could demonstrate an altered natural history of renal disease. Although hard end points are indicators of a drug's efficacy in reducing cardiovascular events or preserving renal function, they do not assess the impact of a treatment on altering the natural history of early renal disease. For clinical trials of people with all but the most advanced renal disease, use of intermediate end points of renal disease progression is the only practical option for assessment of treatment efficacy and effectiveness. Given the available data on proteinuria reduction and doubling of serum creatinine from clinical trials, these end points, taken together, appear to provide an acceptable means of assessing a treatment's impact on slowing renal disease progression.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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