"What are angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) and how do they work?
The class of drugs called angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), as the class name suggests, are drugs that block the action of angiotensin. Specifically, ARBs preve"...
Fetal/Neonatal Morbidity and Mortality
Drugs that act directly on the renin-angiotensin system can cause fetal and neonatal morbidity and death when administered to pregnant women. Several dozen cases have been reported in the world literature in patients who were taking angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors. Post-marketing experience has identified reports of fetal and neonatal toxicity in babies born to women treated with ATACAND during pregnancy. When pregnancy is detected, ATACAND should be discontinued as soon as possible.
The use of drugs that act directly on the renin-angiotensin system during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy has been associated with fetal and neonatal injury, including hypotension, neonatal skull hypoplasia, anuria, reversible or irreversible renal failure, and death. Oligohydramnios has also been reported, presumably resulting from decreased fetal renal function; oligohydramnios in this setting has been associated with fetal limb contractures, craniofacial deformation, and hypoplastic lung development. Prematurity, intrauterine growth retardation, and patent ductus arteriosus have also been reported, although it is not clear whether these occurrences were due to exposure to the drug.
These adverse effects do not appear to have resulted from intrauterine drug exposure that has been limited to the first trimester. Mothers whose embryos and fetuses are exposed to an angiotensin II receptor antagonist only during the first trimester should be so informed. Nonetheless, when patients become pregnant, physicians should have the patient discontinue the use of ATACAND as soon as possible.
Rarely (probably less often than once in every thousand pregnancies), no alternative to a drug acting on the reninangiotensin system will be found. In these rare cases, the mothers should be apprised of the potential hazards to their fetuses, and serial ultrasound examinations should be performed to assess the intra-amniotic environment.
If oligohydramnios is observed, ATACAND should be discontinued unless it is considered life saving for the mother. Contraction stress testing (CST), a nonstress test (NST), or biophysical profiling (BPP) may be appropriate, depending upon the week of pregnancy. Patients and physicians should be aware, however, that oligohydramnios may not appear until after the fetus has sustained irreversible injury.
Infants with histories of in utero exposure to an angiotensin II receptor antagonist should be closely observed for hypotension, oliguria, and hyperkalemia. If oliguria occurs, attention should be directed toward support of blood pressure and renal perfusion. Exchange transfusion or dialysis may be required as means of reversing hypotension and/or substituting for disordered renal function.
Oral doses ≥ 10 mg of candesartan cilexetil/kg/day administered to pregnant rats during late gestation and continued through lactation were associated with reduced survival and an increased incidence of hydronephrosis in the offspring. The 10-mg/kg/day dose in rats is approximately 2.8 times the maximum recommended daily human dose (MRHD) of 32 mg on a mg/m2 basis (comparison assumes human body weight of 50 kg). Candesartan cilexetil given to pregnant rabbits at an oral dose of 3 mg/kg/day (approximately 1.7 times the MRHD on a mg/m2 basis) caused maternal toxicity (decreased body weight and death) but, in surviving dams, had no adverse effects on fetal survival, fetal weight, or external, visceral, or skeletal development. No maternal toxicity or adverse effects on fetal development were observed when oral doses up to 1000 mg of candesartan cilexetil/kg/day (approximately 138 times the MRHD on a mg/m² basis) were administered to pregnant mice.
Morbidity in Infants
Children < 1 year of age must not receive ATACAND for hypertension. Drugs that act directly on the reninangiotensin system (RAS) can have effects on the development of immature kidneys.
In adult or children patients with an activated reninangiotensin system, such as volume- and/or salt-depleted patients (eg, those being treated with diuretics), symptomatic hypotension may occur. These conditions should be corrected prior to administration of ATACAND, or the treatment should start under close medical supervision [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].
If hypotension occurs, the patients should be placed in the supine position and, if necessary, given an intravenous infusion of normal saline. A transient hypotensive response is not a contraindication to further treatment which usually can be continued without difficulty once the blood pressure has stabilized.
Caution should be observed when initiating therapy in patients with heart failure. Patients with heart failure given ATACAND commonly have some reduction in blood pressure. In patients with symptomatic hypotension this may require temporarily reducing the dose of ATACAND, or diuretic, or both, and volume repletion. In the CHARM program, hypotension was reported in 18.8% of patients on ATACAND versus 9.8% of patients on placebo. The incidence of hypotension leading to drug discontinuation in ATACAND-treated patients was 4.1% compared with 2.0% in placebo-treated patients.
Monitoring of blood pressure is recommended during dose escalation and periodically thereafter.
Hypotension may occur during major surgery and anesthesia in patients treated with angiotensin II receptor antagonists, including ATACAND, due to blockade of the renin-angiotensin system. Very rarely, hypotension may be severe such that it may warrant the use of intravenous fluids and/or vasopressors.
Impaired Hepatic Function
Based on pharmacokinetic data which demonstrate significant increases in candesartan AUC and Cmax in patients with moderate hepatic impairment, a lower initiating dose should be considered for patients with moderate hepatic impairment [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].
Renal Function Deterioration
As a consequence of inhibiting the renin-angiotensinaldosterone system, changes in renal function may be anticipated in some individuals treated with ATACAND. In patients whose renal function may depend upon the activity of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (eg, patients with severe heart failure), treatment with angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin receptor antagonists has been associated with oliguria and/or progressive azotemia and (rarely) with acute renal failure and/or death. Similar results may be anticipated in patients treated with ATACAND [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].
In studies of ACE inhibitors in patients with unilateral or bilateral renal artery stenosis, increases in serum creatinine or blood urea nitrogen (BUN) have been reported. There has been no long-term use of ATACAND in patients with unilateral or bilateral renal artery stenosis, but similar results may be expected.
In heart failure patients treated with ATACAND, increases in serum creatinine may occur. Dosage reduction or discontinuation of the diuretic or ATACAND, and volume repletion may be required. In the CHARM program, the incidence of abnormal renal function (e.g., creatinine increase) was 12.5% in patients treated with ATACAND versus 6.3% in patients treated with placebo. The incidence of abnormal renal function (eg, creatinine increase) leading to drug discontinuation in ATACAND-treated patients was 6.3% compared with 2.9% in placebo-treated patients. Evaluation of patients with heart failure should always include assessment of renal function and volume status. Monitoring of serum creatinine is recommended during dose escalation and periodically thereafter.
Pediatrics -ATACAND has not been studied in children with estimated glomerular filtration rate < 30 mL/min/1.73 m².
In heart failure patients treated with ATACAND, hyperkalemia may occur, especially when taken concomitantly with ACE inhibitors and potassium-sparing diuretics such as spironolactone. In the CHARM program, the incidence of hyperkalemia was 6.3% in patients treated with ATACAND versus 2.1% in patients treated with placebo. The incidence of hyperkalemia leading to drug discontinuation in ATACAND-treated patients was 2.4% compared with 0.6% in placebo-treated patients. During treatment with ATACAND in patients with heart failure, monitoring of serum potassium is recommended during dose escalation and periodically thereafter.
Patient Counseling Information
See FDA-approved patient labeling (PATIENT INFORMATION).
Female patients of childbearing age should be told about the consequences of second- and third-trimester exposure to drugs that act on the renin-angiotensin system, and they should also be told that these consequences do not appear to have resulted from intrauterine drug exposure that has been limited to the first trimester. These patients should be asked to report pregnancies to their physicians as soon as possible.
Post-menarche adolescents should be questioned on a regular basis as to changes in menstrual pattern and the possibility of pregnancy.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility
There was no evidence of carcinogenicity when candesartan cilexetil was orally administered to mice and rats for up to 104 weeks at doses up to 100 and 1000 mg/kg/day, respectively. Rats received the drug by gavage, whereas mice received the drug by dietary administration. These (maximally-tolerated) doses of candesartan cilexetil provided systemic exposures to candesartan (AUCs) that were, in mice, approximately 7 times and, in rats, more than 70 times the exposure in man at the maximum recommended daily human dose (32 mg).
Candesartan and its O-deethyl metabolite tested positive for genotoxicity in the in vitro Chinese hamster lung (CHL) chromosomal aberration assay. Neither compound tested positive in the Ames microbial mutagenesis assay or the in vitro mouse lymphoma cell assay. Candesartan (but not its O-deethyl metabolite) was also evaluated in vivo in the mouse micronucleus test and in vitro in the Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) gene mutation assay, in both cases with negative results. Candesartan cilexetil was evaluated in the Ames test, the in vitro mouse lymphoma cell and rat hepatocyte unscheduled DNA synthesis assays and the in vivo mouse micronucleus test, in each case with negative results. Candesartan cilexetil was not evaluated in the CHL chromosomal aberration or CHO gene mutation assay.
Fertility and reproductive performance were not affected in studies with male and female rats given oral doses of up to 300 mg/kg/day (83 times the maximum daily human dose of 32 mg on a body surface area basis).
Use In Specific Populations
Pregnancy Categories C (first trimester) and D (second and third trimesters) [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Labor and Delivery
The effect of ATACAND on labor and delivery in humans is unknown [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
It is not known whether candesartan is excreted in human milk, but candesartan has been shown to be present in rat milk. Because of the potential for adverse effects on the nursing infant, a decision should be made whether to discontinue nursing or discontinue ATACAND, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother.
The antihypertensive effects of ATACAND were evaluated in hypertensive children 1 to < 17 years of age in randomized, double-blind clinical studies [see Clinical Studies]. The pharmacokinetics of ATACAND have been evaluated in pediatric patients 1 to < 17 years of age [see Pharmacokinetics].
Children < 1 year of age must not receive ATACAND for hypertension [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Of the total number of subjects in clinical studies of ATACAND, 21% (683/3260) were 65 and over, while 3% (87/3260) were 75 and over. No overall differences in safety or effectiveness were observed between these subjects and younger adult subjects, and other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients, but greater sensitivity of some older individuals cannot be ruled out. In a placebo-controlled trial of about 200 elderly hypertensive patients (ages 65 to 87 years), administration of candesartan cilexetil was well tolerated and lowered blood pressure by about 12/6 mm Hg more than placebo.
Of the 7599 patients with heart failure in the CHARM program, 4343 (57%) were age 65 years or older and 1736 (23%) were 75 years or older. In patients ≥ 75 years of age, the incidence of drug discontinuations due to adverse events was higher for those treated with ATACAND or placebo compared with patients <75 years of age. In these patients, the most common adverse events leading to drug discontinuation at an incidence of at least 3%, and more frequent with ATACAND than placebo, were abnormal renal function (7.9% vs. 4.0%), hypotension (5.2% vs. 3.2%) and hyperkalemia (4.2% vs. 0.9%). In addition to monitoring of serum creatinine, potassium, and blood pressure during dose escalation and periodically thereafter, greater sensitivity of some older individuals with heart failure must be considered.
Last reviewed on RxList: 5/24/2013
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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