Pharmacology of losartan, an angiotensin II receptor antagonist, in animal models of hypertension

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Background:Clinical experience with angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors has shown that inhibition of the renin–angiotensin system is effective therapy for hypertension and heart failure. Losartan (DuP753, MK954, cozaar) is the first non-peptidic drug that inhibits the renin-angiotensin system by selectively blocking the interaction of angiotensin II with its receptorDifferences between losartan and ACE inhibitors:Pharmacological differences between ACE inhibitors and losartan could affect comparative efficacy and/or safety. In addition to angiotensin I, ACE has other substrates (e.g. kinins). Blocking the metabolism of kinins with ACE inhibitors could be beneficial (e.g. vasodilation) and/or elicit side effects (e.g. cough) which will not be produced by losartan. Non-ACE pathways of angiotensin II formation have been described (e.g. angiotensin I convertase) which may limit the ability of ACE inhibitors to prevent formation of angiotensin II in all tissues. Losartan blocks angiotensin II responses irrespective of the route or site of angiotensin II formation. Two binding sites for angiotensin II are widely accepted, AT1 and AT2. Losartan blocks only AT1 sites while ACE inhibitors functionally block angiotensin II interaction with both sites. Since the physiological role for AT2 sites is unknown, the relevance of this difference between ACE inhibitors and losartan is questionableHypertension:In animal models of hypertension, the efficacy of losartan is equivalent to the efficacy of ACE inhibitors. In animal models that reflect complications of hypertension, such as kidney dysfunction, cardiac and vascular hypertrophy and stroke, losartan and ACE inhibitors are also equally effective. From these results, kinin potentiation and lack of inhibition of angiotensin I convertase do not lead to differences in pharmacological efficacy between ACE inhibitors and losartan. Therefore, with respect to therapeutic efficacy, results in animal models indicate that losartan will display the beneficial pharmacology of ACE inhibitors without the detrimental side effects attributed to kinin potentiation

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