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Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2007 Jan;16(1):55-64.

Laboratory monitoring of potassium and creatinine in ambulatory patients receiving angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers.

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  • 1Kaiser Permanente of Colorado Clinical Research Unit and School of Pharmacy, University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center, Denver, CO 80237-8066, USA.



Serum potassium and creatinine monitoring is recommended for patients prescribed angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEi) and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARB). Much has been written about hyperkalemia associated with these drugs; little is known about laboratory monitoring patterns. The purpose of this retrospective cohort study was to assess creatinine and potassium monitoring and characteristics associated with monitoring among patients dispensed ACEi or ARB.


This study was conducted in 10 United States health maintenance organizations. Study patients (n = 52 906) were aged 18 or older with dispensings of ACEi or ARB for at least 1 year. Serum potassium and creatinine monitoring were assessed from administrative data and medical records.


More than two-thirds (68.4%) of patients received laboratory monitoring. Likelihood of monitoring increased with age (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 2.10; 95% confidence interval [95%CI] 1.93, 2.28 [individuals >or= 80 compared to <50 years]), >9 outpatient visits (OR 1.46; 95%CI 1.39, 1.54), hospitalization (OR 1.15; 95%CI 1.06, 1.25), concomitant medications (potassium [OR 2.01; 95%CI 1.84, 2.20], diuretics [OR 1.54; 95%CI 1.47, 1.61], digoxin [OR 1.15; 95%CI 1.01, 1.30]), and comorbidities (diabetes [OR 1.68; 95%CI 1.61, 1.75], heart failure [OR 1.73; 95%CI 1.57, 1.90], chronic kidney disease [OR 2.95; 95%CI 2.48. 3.51]).


Nearly one-third of patients dispensed ACEi or ARB did not undergo laboratory monitoring at least yearly. Though patients at increased risk of hyperkalemia were more likely to be monitored, many remained unmonitored.

Copyright (c) 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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