Pharmacotherapy for Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitor–Induced Angioedema: A Systematic Review

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Abstract

Objective

Angioedema is a potentially life-threatening complication of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor (ACEI) use, occurring in up to 0.5% of users. Although the pathophysiology of ACEI-induced angioedema is attributable to elevated serum bradykinin, standard management typically includes corticosteroids and antihistamines. We sought to summarize the evidence supporting pharmacotherapy for ACEI-induced angioedema.

Data Sources

PubMed, MEDLINE, and Embase portals.

Methods

A systematic literature review was conducted according to the PRISMA guidelines. Databases were queried by 3 independent reviewers for English-language studies published between 1980 and 2017. The initial search screened for all occurrences of “angioedema” and then was further refined to include studies of ACEI-related cases and exclude hereditary angioedema.

Results

Five articles representing 218 cases were identified, including 3 randomized controlled trials and 2 prospective case series with historical controls. One of 2 studies of icatibant (bradykinin B2 receptor antagonist) found more rapid symptom improvement than that with a control group of corticosteroids and antihistamines. Two studies of ecallantide (plasma kallikrein inhibitor) and 1 study of C1 inhibitor replacement found no significant benefit over control. No studies were identified that compared the efficacy of corticosteroids with antihistamines, of one dose with another, of fresh frozen plasma, or of combination therapy.

Conclusion

The efficacy of treatment of ACEI-induced angioedema with bradykinin antagonists, kallikrein inhibitor, and C1 inhibitor warrants further study. Although consistent benefit of these medications has not been demonstrated, their use has not caused harm. One study examining off-label use of icatibant has demonstrated efficacy over control. In addition, further study is needed to establish the efficacy and mechanism of action of standard pharmacotherapy such as corticosteroids and antihistamines in treatment of this condition.

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