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J Hypertens. 2013 Jan;31(1):3-15. doi: 10.1097/HJH.0b013e3283599b6a.

Spironolactone, eplerenone and the new aldosterone blockers in endocrine and primary hypertension.

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Clinica Medica, Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine, University of Udine, Udine, Italy.


Mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists (MRAs) are commonly used to reduce blood pressure, left-ventricular hypertrophy, and urinary albumin excretion in patients with essential hypertension or primary aldosteronism. Effects of MRAs on hypertensive organ damage seem to occur beyond what is expected from the mere reduction of blood pressure. This suggests that activation of the mineralocorticoid receptor plays a central role in the development of cardiac and renal abnormalities in hypertensive patients. However, broad use of classic MRAs such as spironolactone has been limited by significant incidence of gynecomastia and other sex-related adverse effects. To overcome these problems, new aldosterone blockers have been developed with different strategies that include use of nonsteroidal MRAs and inhibition of aldosterone synthesis. Both strategies have been designed to avoid the steroid receptor cross-reactivity of classic MRAs that accounts for most adverse effects. Moreover, inhibition of aldosterone synthesis could have an additional benefit due to blockade of the mineralocorticoid receptor-independent pathways that might account for some of the untoward effects of aldosterone. The new aldosterone blockers are currently having extensive preclinical evaluation, and one of these compounds has passed phase 2 trials showing promising results in patients with primary hypertension and primary aldosteronism. This narrative review summarizes the knowledge on the use of classic MRAs in hypertension and covers the evidence currently available on new aldosterone blockers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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