Losartan is an angiotensin-receptor blocker (ARB) that may be used alone or with other agents to treat hypertension. Losartan and its longer acting metabolite, E-3174, lower blood pressure by antagonizing the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS); they compete with angiotensin II for binding to the type-1 angiotensin II receptor (AT1) subtype and prevents the blood pressure increasing effects of angiotensin II. Unlike angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, ARBs do not have the adverse effect of dry cough. Losartan may be used to treat hypertension, isolated systolic hypertension, left ventricular hypertrophy and diabetic nephropathy. It may also be used as an alternative agent for the treatment of systolic dysfunction, myocardial infarction, coronary artery disease, and heart failure.
May be used as a first line agent to treat uncomplicated hypertension, isolated systolic hypertension and left ventricular hypertrophy. May be used as a first line agent to delay progression of diabetic nephropathy. Losartan may be also used as a second line agent in the treatment of congestive heart failure, systolic dysfunction, myocardial infarction and coronary artery disease in those intolerant of ACE inhibitors.
Losartan is the first of a class of antihypertensive agents called angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs). Losartan and its longer acting active metabolite, E-3174, are specific and selective type-1 angiotensin II receptor (AT1) antagonists which block the blood pressure increasing effects angiotensin II via the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS). RAAS is a homeostatic mechanism for regulating hemodynamics, water and electrolyte balance. During sympathetic stimulation or when renal blood pressure or blood flow is reduced, renin is released from granular cells of the juxtaglomerular apparatus in the kidneys. Renin cleaves circulating angiotensinogen to angiotensin I, which is cleaved by angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) to angiotensin II. Angiotensin II increases blood pressure by increasing total peripheral resistance, increasing sodium and water reabsorption in the kidneys via aldosterone secretion, and altering cardiovascular structure. Angiotensin II binds to two receptors: AT1 and type-2 angiotensin II receptor (AT2). AT1 is a G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) that mediates the vasoconstrictive and aldosterone-secreting effects of angiotensin II. Studies performed in recent years suggest that AT2 antagonizes AT1-mediated effects and directly affects long-term blood pressure control by inducing vasorelaxation and increasing urinary sodium excretion. Angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) are non-peptide competitive inhibitors of AT1. ARBs block the ability of angiotensin II to stimulate pressor and cell proliferative effects. Unlike ACE inhibitors, ARBs do not affect bradykinin-induced vasodilation. The overall effect of ARBs is a decrease in blood pressure.
Mechanism of action
Losartan competitively inhibits the binding of angiotensin II to AT1 in many tissues including vascular smooth muscle and the adrenal glands. Losartan is metabolized to its active metabolite, E-3174, which is 10 to 40 times more potent than losartan and acts as a non-competitive AT1 antagonist. Inhibition of angiotensin II binding to AT1 inhibits its AT1-mediated vasoconstrictive and aldosterone-secreting effects and results in decreased vascular resistance and blood pressure. Losartan is 1,000 times more selective for AT1 than AT2. Inhibition of aldosterone secretion may increase sodium and water excretion while decreasing potassium excretion. Losartan is effective for reducing blood pressure and may be used to treat essential hypertension, left ventricular hypertrophy and diabetic nephropathy.
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