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Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Mar;16(2):183-91. doi: 10.4103/2230-8210.93734.

Vasopressin receptor antagonists and their role in clinical medicine.

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Department of Nephrology, Medwin Hospital, Chirag Ali Lane, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India.


Hyponatremia is the most common electrolyte abnormality in hospitalized patients. Its treatment is based not only on extracellular fluid volume status of patients but also on its pathogenetic mechanisms. Conventional treatment of hyponatremia like fluid restriction, which is useful in euvolemic and hypervolemic hyponatremia, has very poor patient compliance over long term. Vasopressin receptor antagonists (Vaptans) are a new group of nonpeptide drugs which have been used in various clinical conditions with limited success. Whereas conivaptan is to be administered intravenously, the other vaptans like tolvaptan, lixivaptan, and satavaptan are effective as oral medication. They produce aquaresis by their action on vasopressin type 2 (V2R) receptors in the collecting duct and thus increase solute free water excretion. Vaptans are being used as an alternative to fluid restriction in euvolemic and hypervolemic hyponatremic patients. Efficacy of vaptans is now well accepted for management of correction of hyponatremia over a short period. However, its efficacy in improving the long-term morbidity and mortality in patients with chronic hyponatremia due to cirrhosis and heart failure is yet to be established. Vaptans have not become the mainstay treatment of hyponatremia yet.


Aquaporins; hyponatremia; vaptans; vasopressin; vasopressin antagonists

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