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Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2002 Nov;3(11):1543-56.

Angiotensin AT-1 receptor antagonism: complementary or alternative to ACE inhibition in cardiovascular and renal disease?

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Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, School of Biomedical Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia.


Both angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and AT-1 receptor antagonists reduce the effects of angiotensin II, however they may have different clinical effects. This is because the ACE inhibitors, but not the AT-1 receptor antagonists, increase the levels of substance P, bradykinin and tissue plasminogen activator. The AT-1 receptor antagonists, but not the ACE inhibitors, are capable of inhibiting the effects of angiotensin II produced by enzymes other than ACE. On the basis of the present clinical trial evidence, AT-1 receptor antagonists, rather than the ACE inhibitors, should be used to treat hypertension associated with left ventricular (LV) hypertrophy. Both groups of drugs are useful when hypertension is not complicated by LV hypertrophy, and in diabetes. In the treatment of diabetes with or without hypertension, there is good clinical support for the use of either an ACE inhibitor or an AT-1 receptor antagonist. ACE inhibitors are recommended in the treatment of renal disease that is not associated with diabetes, after myocardial infarction when left ventricular dysfunction is present, and in heart failure. As the incidence of cough is much lower with the AT-1 receptor antagonists, these can be substituted for ACE inhibitors in patients with hypertension or heart failure who have persistent cough. Preliminary studies suggest that combining an AT-1 receptor antagonist with an ACE inhibitor may be more effective than an ACE inhibitor alone in the treatment of hypertension, diabetes with hypertension, renal disease without diabetes and heart failure. However, further trials are required before combination therapy can be recommended in these conditions.

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