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Clin Pharmacokinet. 1993 Jan;24(1):59-70.

Optimising ACE inhibitor therapy of congestive heart failure. Insights from pharmacodynamic studies.

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Department of Medicine, Ohio State University, College of Medicine and Hospitals, Columbus.


Pharmacokinetic studies are often used to provide additional information regarding the use of pharmacological agents for the treatment of cardiovascular disorders. Pharmacokinetic data are available for the major angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. However, practical guidelines regarding dosage and dosage intervals are not feasible, and measurements of serum drug concentrations are generally not useful in practice. Such use is obscured by the nature of enzymatic inhibition, renin and angiotensin I accumulation, the complex interaction of several organ systems, the compromise of organ system function due to the heart failure process, the effect of ACE inhibitors on other vasoactive substances and the cellular actions of carboxypeptidase (the enzyme otherwise known as ACE). Pharmacodynamic data demonstrate 2 important factors that influence ACE inhibitor pharmacokinetics and serum concentrations: the aging process and abnormal renal function. As most patients with moderate to severe heart failure have reduced renal function, this has practical implications. Furthermore, heart failure is common in the elderly, and even within the population with heart failure, a superimposed further reduction in renal function can be identified in elderly patients with heart failure. Therefore, a more careful analysis of ACE inhibitor dosage must be made in the presence of decreased renal function and in the elderly patient with heart failure.

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