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Drugs. 1986 Mar;31(3):198-248.

Enalapril. A review of its pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic properties, and therapeutic use in hypertension and congestive heart failure.


Enalapril maleate is an orally active angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor. It lowers peripheral vascular resistance without causing an increase in heart rate. Enalapril 10 to 40 mg/day administered either once or twice daily is effective in lowering blood pressure in all grades of essential and renovascular hypertension, and shows similar efficacy to usual therapeutic dosages of hydrochlorothiazide, beta-blockers (propranolol, atenolol and metoprolol) and captopril. Most patients achieve adequate blood pressure control on enalapril alone or with hydrochlorothiazide. In patients with severe congestive heart failure resistant to conventional therapy, enalapril improves cardiac performance by a reduction in both preload and afterload, and improves clinical status long term. Enalapril appears to be well tolerated, with few serious adverse effects being reported. It does not induce the bradycardia associated with beta-blockers or the adverse effects of diuretics on some laboratory values. In fact, the hypokalaemic effect of hydrochlorothiazide is attenuated by the addition of enalapril. The incidence of the main (but rare) side effects of hypotension in hypovolaemic patients and reduced renal function in certain patients with renovascular hypertension, which are also seen with captopril, might be reduced by careful dosage titration, discontinuation of diuretics, and monitoring of at-risk patients. Thus, enalapril is a particularly worthwhile addition to the antihypertensive armamentarium, as an alternative for treatment of all grades of essential and renovascular hypertension. It also shows promise in the treatment of congestive heart failure.

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