"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"...
Mechanism of Action
Moexipril hydrochloride is a prodrug for moexiprilat, which inhibits ACE in humans and animals. The mechanism through which moexiprilat lowers blood pressure is believed to be primarily inhibition of ACE activity. ACE is a peptidyl dipeptidase that catalyzes the conversion of the inactive decapeptide angiotensin I to the vasoconstrictor substance angiotensin II. Angiotensin II is a potent peripheral vasoconstrictor that also stimulates aldosterone secretion by the adrenal cortex and provides negative feedback on renin secretion. ACE is identical to kininase II, an enzyme that degrades bradykinin, an endothelium-dependent vasodilator. Moexiprilat is about 1000 times as potent as moexipril in inhibiting ACE and kininase II. Inhibition of ACE results in decreased angiotensin II formation, leading to decreased vasoconstriction, increased plasma renin activity, and decreased aldosterone secretion. The latter results in diuresis and natriuresis and a small increase in serum potassium concentration (mean increases of about 0.2 5 mEq/L were seen when moexipril was used alone, see PRECAUTIONS).
Whether increased levels of bradykinin, a potent vasodepressor peptide, play a role in the therapeutic effects of moexipril remains to be elucidated. Although the principal mechanism of moexipril in blood pressure reduction is believed to be through the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, ACE inhibitors have some effect on blood pressure even in apparent low-renin hypertension. As is the case with other ACE inhibitors, however, the antihypertensive effect of moexipril is considerably smaller in black patients, a predominantly low-renin population, than in non-black hypertensive patients.
Pharmacokinetics and Metabolism
Moexipril's antihypertensive activity is almost entirely due to its deesterified metabolite, moexiprilat. Bioavailability of oral moexipril is about 13% compared to intravenous (I.V.) moexipril (both measuring the metabolite moexiprilat), and is markedly affected by food, which reduces the peak plasma level (Cmax) and AUC (see Absorption). Moexipril should therefore be taken in a fasting state. The time of peak plasma concentration (Tmax) of moexiprilat is about 1½ hours and elimination half-life (t½) is estimated at 2 to 9 hours in various studies, the variability reflecting a complex elimination pattern that is not simply exponential. Like all ACE inhibitors, moexiprilat has a prolonged terminal elimination phase, presumably reflecting slow release of drug bound to the ACE. Accumulation of moexiprilat with repeated dosing is minimal, about 30%, compatible with a functional elimination t½ of about 12 hours. Over the dose range of 7.5 to 30 mg, pharmacokinetics are approximately dose proportional.
Moexipril is incompletely absorbed, with bioavailability as moexiprilat of about 13%. Bioavailability varies with formulation and food intake which reduces Cmax and AUC by about 70% and 40% respectively after the ingestion of a low-fat breakfast or by 80% and 50% respectively after the ingestion of a high-fat breakfast.
The clearance (CL) for moexipril is 441 mL/min and for moexiprilat 2 32 mL/min with a t½ of 1.3 and 9.8 hours, respectively. Moexiprilat is about 50% protein bound. The volume of distribution of moexiprilat is about 183 liters.
Metabolism and Excretion
Moexipril is relatively rapidly converted to its active metabolite moexiprilat, but persists longer than some other ACE inhibitor prodrugs, such that its t½ is over one hour and it has a significant AUC. Both moexipril and moexiprilat are converted to diketopiperazine derivatives and unidentified metabolites. After I.V. administration of moexipril, about 40% of the dose appears in urine as moexiprilat, about 2 6% as moexipril, with small amounts of the metabolites; about 2 0% of the I.V. dose appears in feces, principally as moexiprilat. After oral administration, only about 7% of the dose appears in urine as moexiprilat, about 1% as moexipril, with about 5% as other metabolites. Fifty-two percent of the dose is recovered in feces as moexiprilat and 1% as moexipril.
Decreased Renal Function: The effective elimination t½ and AUC of both moexipril and moexiprilat are increased with decreasing renal function. There is insufficient information available to characterize this relationship fully, but at creatinine clearances in the range of 10 to 40 mL/min, the t½ of moexiprilat is increased by a factor of 3 to 4.
Decreased Hepatic Function: In patients with mild to moderate cirrhosis given single 15 mg doses of moexipril, the Cmax of moexipril was increased by about 50% and the AUC increased by about 12 0%, while the Cmax for moexiprilat was decreased by about 50% and the AUC increased by almost 300%.
Elderly Patients: In elderly male subjects (65-80 years old) with clinically normal renal and hepatic function, the AUC and Cmax of moexiprilat is about 30% greater than those of younger subjects (19-42 years old).
Pharmacokinetic Interactions With Other Drugs
No clinically important pharmacokinetic interactions occurred when univasc® was administered concomitantly with hydrochlorothiazide, digoxin, or cimetidine.
Pharmacodynamics and Clinical Effect
Single and multiple doses of 15 mg or more of univasc® gives sustained inhibition of plasma ACE activity of 80-90%, beginning within 2 hours and lasting 2 4 hours (80%).
In controlled trials, the peak effects of orally administered moexipril increased with the dose administered over a dose range of 7.5 to 60 mg, given once a day. Antihypertensive effects were first detectable about 1 hour after dosing, with a peak effect between 3 and 6 hours after dosing. Just before dosing (i.e., at trough), the antihypertensive effects were less prominently related to dose and the antihypertensive effect tended to diminish during the 2 4-hour dosing interval when the drug was administered once a day.
In multiple dose studies in the dose range of 7.5 to 30 mg once daily, univasc® lowered sitting diastolic and systolic blood pressure effects at trough by 3 to 6 mmHg and 4 to 11 mmHg more than placebo, respectively. There was a tendency toward increased response with higher doses over this range. These effects are typical of ACE inhibitors but, to date, there are no trials of adequate size comparing moexipril with other antihypertensive agents.
The trough diastolic blood pressure effects of moexipril were approximately 3 to 6 mmHg in various studies. Generally, higher doses of moexipril leave a greater fraction of the peak blood pressure effect still present at trough. During dose titration, any decision as to the adequacy of a dosing regimen should be based on trough blood pressure measurements. If diastolic blood pressure control is not adequate at the end of the dosing interval, the dose can be increased or given as a divided (BID) regimen.
During chronic therapy, the antihypertensive effect of any dose of univasc® is generally evident within 2 weeks of treatment, with maximal reduction after 4 weeks. The antihypertensive effects of univasc® have been proven to continue during therapy for up to 2 4 months.
univasc®, like other ACE inhibitors, is less effective in decreasing trough blood pressures in blacks than in non-blacks. Placebo-corrected trough group mean diastolic blood pressure effects in blacks in the proposed dose range varied between +1 to -3 mmHg compared with responses in non-blacks of -4 to -6 mmHg.
The effectiveness of univasc® was not significantly influenced by patient age, gender, or weight. univasc® has been shown to have antihypertensive activity in both pre- and postmenopausal women who have participated in placebo-controlled clinical trials.
Formal interaction studies with moexipril have not been carried out with antihypertensive agents other than thiazide diuretics. In these studies, the added effect of moexipril was similar to its effect as monotherapy. In general, ACE inhibitors have less than additive effects with betaadrenergic blockers, presumably because both work by inhibiting the renin-angiotensin system.
Last reviewed on RxList: 2/10/2012
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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