"What are ACE inhibitors and how do they work?
The class of drugs called angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, as the class name suggests, reduces the activity of angiotensin converting enzyme. ACE converts angiotensin I pr"...
Anaphylactoid and Possibly Related Reactions
Presumably because drugs that act directly on the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (e.g., ACE inhibitors) affect the metabolism of eicosanoids and polypeptides, including endogenous bradykinin, patients receiving these drugs (including ALTACE) may be subject to a variety of adverse reactions, some of them serious.
Head and Neck Angioedema
Patients with a history of angioedema unrelated to ACE inhibitor therapy may be at increased risk of angioedema while receiving an ACE inhibitor. Angioedema of the face, extremities, lips, tongue, glottis, and larynx has been reported in patients treated with ACE inhibitors. Angioedema associated with laryngeal edema can be fatal. If laryngeal stridor or angioedema of the face, tongue, or glottis occurs, discontinue treatment with ALTACE and institute appropriate therapy immediately. Where there is involvement of the tongue, glottis, or larynx likely to cause airway obstruction, administer appropriate therapy (e.g., subcutaneous epinephrine solution 1:1000 [0.3 mL to 0.5 mL]) promptly [see ADVERSE REACTIONS].
In considering the use of ALTACE, note that in controlled clinical trials ACE inhibitors cause a higher rate of angioedema in Black patients than in non-Black patients. In a large U.S. post-marketing study, angioedema (defined as reports of angio, face, larynx, tongue, or throat edema) w as reported in 3/1523 (0.20%) Black patients and in 8/8680 (0.09%) non-Black patients. These rates were not different statistically.
Intestinal angioedema has been reported in patients treated with ACE inhibitors. These patients presented with abdominal pain (with or without nausea or vomiting); in some cases there was no prior history of facial angioedema and C-1 e sterase levels were normal. The angioedema was diagnosed by procedures includ ing abdominal CT scan or ultrasound, or at surgery, and symptoms resolved after stopping the ACE inhibitor. Include intestinal angioedema in the differential diagnosis of patients on ACE inhibitors presenting with abdominal pain.
Anaphylactoid Reactions During Desensitization
Two patients undergoing desensitizing treatment with hymenoptera venom while receiving ACE inhibitors sustained life-threatening anaphylactoid reactions. In the same patients, these reactions were avoided when ACE inhibitors were temporarily withheld, but they reappeared upon inadvertent rechallenge.
Anaphylactoid Reactions During Membrane Exposure
Anaphylactoid reactions have been reported in patients dialyzed with high-flux membranes and treated concomitantly with an ACE inhibitor. Anaphylactoid reactions have also been reported in patients undergoing low-density lipoprotein apheresis with dextran sulfate absorption.
Hepatic Failure and Impaired Liver Function
Rarely, ACE inhibitors, including ALTACE, have been associated with a syndrome that starts with cholestatic jaundice and progresses to fulminan t hepatic necrosis and sometimes death. The mechanism of this syndrome is not understood. Discontinue ALTACE if patient develops jaundice or marked elevations of hepatic enzymes.
As ramipril is primarily metabolized by hepatic esterases to its active moiety, ramiprilat, patients with impaired liver function could develop markedly elevated plasma levels of ramipril. No formal pharmacokinetic studies have been carried out in hypertensive patients with impaired liver function.
As a consequence of inhibiting the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, changes in renal function may be anticipated in susceptible individuals. In patients with severe congestive heart failure whose renal function may depend on the activity of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, treatment with ACE inhibitors, including ALTACE, may be associate d with oliguria or progressive azotemia and rarely with acute renal failure or death.
In hypertensive patients with unilateral or bilateral renal artery stenosis, increases in blood urea nitrogen and serum creatinine may occur. Experience with another ACE inhibitor suggests that these increases would be reversible upon discontinuation of ALTACE and/or diuretic therapy. In such patients, monitor renal function during the first few weeks of therapy. Some hypertensive patients with no apparent pre-existing renal vascular disease have developed increases in blood urea nitrogen and serum creatinine, usually minor and transient, especially when ALTACE has been given concomitantly with a diuretic. This is more likely to occur in patients with pre-existing renal impairment. Dosage reduction of ALTACE and/or discontinuation of the diuretic may be required.
Neutropenia and Agranulocytosis
In rare instances, treatment with ACE inhibitors may be associated with mild reductions in red blood cell count and hemoglobin content, blood cell or platelet counts. In isolated cases, agranulocytosis, pancytopenia, and bone marrow depression may occur. He matological reactions to ACE inhibitors are more likely to occur in patients with collagen-vascular disease (e.g., systemic lupus erythematosus, scleroderma) and renal impairment. Consider monitoring white blood cell counts in patients with collagen-vascular disease, especially if the disease is associated with impaired renal function.
ALTACE can cause symptomatic hypotension, after either the initial dose or a later dose when the dosage has been increased. Like other ACE inhibitors, ALTACE, has been only rarely associated with hypotension in uncomplicated hypertensive patients. Symptomatic hypotension is most likely to occur in patients who have been volume- and/or salt-depleted as a result of prolonged diuretic therapy, dietary salt restriction, dialysis, diarrhea, or vomiting. Correct volume- and salt-depletion before initiating therapy with ALTACE.
If excessive hypotension occurs, place the patient in a supine position and, if necessary, treat with intravenous infusion of physiological saline. ALTACE treatment usually can be continued following restoration of blood pressure and volume.
Heart Failure Post-Myocardial Infarction
In patients with heart failure post-myocardial infarction who are currently being treated with a diuretic, symptomatic hypotension occasionally can occur following the initial dose of ALTACE. If the initial dose of 2.5 mg ALTACE cannot be tolerated, use an initial dose of 1.25 mg ALTACE to avoid excessive hypotension. Consider reducing the dose of concomitant diuretic to decrease the incidence of hypotension.
Congestive Heart Failure
In patients with congestive heart failure, with or without associated renal insufficiency, ACE inhibitor therapy may cause excessive hypotension , which may be associated with oliguria or azotemia and rarely, with acute renal failure and death. In such patients, initiate ALTACE therapy under close medical supervision and follow patients closely for the first 2 weeks of treatment and w henever the dose of ALTACE or diuretic is increased.
Surgery and Anesthesia
In patients undergoing surgery or during anesthesia with agents that produce hypotension, ramipril may block angiotens in II formation that would otherwise occur secondary to compensatory renin release. Hypotension that occurs as a result of this mechanism can be corrected by volume expansion.
Pregnancy Category D
Use of drugs that act on the renin-angiotensin system during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy reduces fetal renal function and increases fetal and neonatal morbidity and death. Resulting oligohydramnios can be associated with fetal lung hypoplasia and skeletal deformations. Potential neonatal adverse effects include skull hypoplasia, anuria, hypotension, renal failure, and death. When pregnancy is detected, discontinue ALTACE as soon as possible [see Use In Specific Populations].
Dual Blockade of the Renin-Angiotensin-Aldosterone System
The ONTARGET trial enrolled 25,620 patients >55 years old with atherosclerotic disease or diabetes with end-organ damage, randomized them to telmisartan only, ramipril only, or the combination, and followed them for a median of 5 6 months. Patients receiving the combination of telmisartan and ramipril did not obtain any benefit in the composite endpoint of cardiovascular death, MI, stroke and heart failure hospitalization compared to monotherapy, but experience d an increased incidence of clinically important renal dysfunction (death, doubling of serum creatinine, or dialysis) compared with groups receiving telmisartan alone or ramipril alone. Concomitant use of telmisartan and ramipril is not recommended.
In clinical trials with ALTACE, hyperkalemia (serum potassium >5.7 mEq/L) occurred in approximately 1% of hypertensive patients receiving ALTACE. In most cases, these were isolated values, which resolved despite continued therapy. None of these patients were discontinued from the trials because of hyperkalemia. Risk factors for the development of hyperkalemia include renal insufficiency, diabetes mellitus, and the concomitant use of potassium-sparing diuretics, potassium supplements, and/or potassium-containing salt substitutes, which should be used cautiously, if at all, with ALTACE [see DRUG INTERACTIONS].
Presumably caused by inhibition of the degradation of endogenous bradykinin, persistent nonproductive cough has been reported with all ACE inhibitors, always resolving after discontinuation of therapy. Consider the possibility of angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor induced-cough in the differential diagnosis of cough.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility
No evidence of a tumorigenic effect was found when ramipril was given by gavage to rats for up to 24 months at doses of up to 500 mg/kg/day or to mice for up to 18 months at doses of up to 1000 mg/kg/day. (For either species, these doses are about 200 times the maximum recommended human dose when compared on the basis of body surface area.) No mutagenic activity was detected in the Ames test in bacteria, the micronucleus test in mice, unscheduled DNA synthesis in a human cell line, or a forward gene-mutation assay in a Chinese hamster ovary cell line. Several metabolites and degradation products of ramipril were also negative in the Ames test. A study in rats with dosages as great as 500 mg/kg/day did not produce adverse effects on fertility.
No teratogenic effects of ramipril were seen in studies of pregnant rats, rabbits, and cynomolgus monkeys. On a body surface area basis, the doses used were up to approximately 400 times (in rats and monkeys) and 2 times (in rabbits) the recommended human dose.
Use In Specific Populations
Pregnancy Category D
Use of drugs that act on the renin-angiotensin system during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy reduces feta l renal function and increases fetal and neonatal morbidity and death. Resulting oligohydramnios can be associated with fetal lung hypoplasia and skeletal deformations. Potential neonatal adverse effects include skull hypoplasia, anuria, hypotension, renal failure, and death. When pregnancy is detected, discontinue ALTACE as soon as possible. These adverse outcomes are usually associated with use of these drugs in the second and third trimester of pregnancy. Most epidemiologic studies examining fetal abnormalities after exposure to antihypertensive use in the first trimester have not distinguished drugs affecting the renin-angiotensin system from other antihypertensive agents. Appropriate management of maternal hypertension during pregnancy is important to optimize outcomes for both mother and fetus.
In the unusual case that there is no appropriate alternative to therapy with drugs affecting the renin-angiotensin system for a particular patient, apprise the mother of the potential risk to the fetus. Perform serial ultrasound examinations to assess the intra-amniotic environment. If oligohydramnios is observed, discontinue ALTACE unless it is considered life-saving for the mother. Fetal testing may be appropriate, based on the week of pregnancy. Patients and physicians should be aware, however, that oligohydramnios may not appear until after the fetus has sustained irreversible injury. Closely observe infants with histories of in utero exposure to ALTACE for hypotension, oliguria, and hyperkalemia.
Ingestion of a single 10 mg oral dose of ALTACE resulted in undetectable amounts of ramipril and its metabolites in breast milk. However, because multiple doses may produce low milk concentrations that are not predictable from a single dose, do not use ALTACE in nursing mothers.
Neonates with a history of in utero exposure to ALTACE:
If oliguria or hypotension occurs, direct attention toward support of blood pressure and renal perfusion. Exchange transfusions or dialysis may be required as a means of reversing hypotension and/or substituting for disordered renal function. Ramipril, which crosses the placenta, can be removed from the neonatal circulation by these means, but limited experience has not shown that such removal is central to the treatment of these infants.
Safety and effectiveness in pediatric patients have not been established. Irreversible kidney damage has been observed in very young rats given a single dose of ALTACE.
Of the total number of patients who received ALTACE in U.S. clinical studies of ALTACE, 11.0% were ≥65 years of age while 0.2% were ≥75 years of age. No overall differences in effectiveness or safety were observed between these patients and younger patients, and other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients, but a greater sensitivity of some older individuals cannot be ruled out. One pharmacokinetic study conducted in hospitalized elderly patients indicated that peak ramiprilat levels and area under the plasma concentration-time curve (AUC) for ramiprilat are higher in older patients.
A single-dose pharmacokinetic study was conducted in hypertensive patients with varying degrees of renal impairment who received a single 10 mg dose of ramipril. Patients were stratified into four groups based on initial estimates of creatinine clearance: normal ( >80 mL/min), mild impairment (40-80 mL/min), moderate impairment (15-40 mL/min), and severe impairment ( <15 mL/min). On average, the AUC0-24h for ramiprilat was approximately 1.7-fold higher, 3.0-fold higher, and 3.2-fold higher in the groups with mild, moderate, and severe renal impairment, respectively, compared to the group with normal renal function. Over all, the results suggest that the starting dose of ramipril should be adjusted downward in patients with moderate-to-severe renal impairment.
Last reviewed on RxList: 4/26/2012
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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