Irbesartan is an orally active angiotensin II type 1 receptor antagonist (angiotensin receptor blocker [ARB]) whose pharmacological profile differs significantly from those of many other compounds of the same class.
In particular, according to its pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic profile, irbesartan has a high bioavailability, a long duration of action and a small potential for pharmacological interactions due to the nature of the enzymatic pathway involved in its metabolic process. Morbidity data with irbesartan have been mainly accumulated in patients with renal impairment where the drug has demonstrated the most remarkable evidence of efficacy among the ARBs class, regardless of the stage of the renal disease (from early to late) and the length of the observational period. The efficacy of irbesartan has also been demonstrated in patients with left ventricular hypertrophy and congestive heart failure. The drug is indicated for the treatment of hypertension and renal impairment in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D) and hypertension, and its tolerability and safety profile have been extensively investigated and reported to be similar to placebo.
From the pharmacoeconomic point of view, treating patients with T2D, hypertension and overt nephropathy using irbesartan was both a cost- and life-saving procedure compared with the use of amlodipine and standard antihypertensive treatment in an Italian setting.
The role of irbesartan in the management of hypertension with or without T2D and renal impairment is clearly recognized by national and international guidelines and largely acknowledged by the medical community according to the efficacy of the drug in the prevention of cardiovascular risk in addition to and beyond kidney prevention.
Received for publication 10 April 2012; accepted for publication 28 April 2012.