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Hypertension. 2002 Dec;40(6):897-902.

Drug effects on aldosterone/plasma renin activity ratio in primary aldosteronism.

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Department of Medicine and Experimental Oncology, Hypertension Unit, University of Torino, Torino, Italy.


Primary aldosteronism is a specifically treatable and potentially curable form of secondary hypertension. The aldosterone/plasma renin activity ratio (ARR) is routinely used as a screening test. Antihypertensive therapy can interfere with the interpretation of this parameter, but a correct washout period can be potentially harmful. We have investigated the effects of therapy with atenolol, amlodipine, doxazosin, fosinopril, and irbesartan on the ARR in a group of 230 patients with suspected primary aldosteronism. The percent change from control of ARR in patients taking amlodipine was -17%+/-32; atenolol, 62%+/-82; doxazosin, -5%+/-26; fosinopril, -30%+/-24; and irbesartan, -43%+/-27. The ARR change induced by atenolol was significantly higher compared with that induced by all other drugs (P<0.0001), and the ARR change induced by irbesartan was significantly lower than that induced by doxazosin (P<0.0001). One of 55 patients from the group taking amlodipine (1.8%) and 4/17 of the patients taking irbesartan (23.5%) gave a false-negative ARR (<50). None of the patients of the groups taking fosinopril, doxazosin, and atenolol displayed a false-negative ARR. Doxazosin and fosinopril can be used in hypertensive patients who need to undergo aldosterone and PRA measurement for the diagnosis of primary aldosteronism; amlodipine gave a very small percentage of false-negative diagnoses. beta-Blockers also do not interfere with the diagnosis of primary aldosteronism, but they can be responsible for an increased rate of false-positive ARRs. The high rate of false-negative diagnoses in patients undergoing irbesartan treatment requires confirmation in a higher number of patients.

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