Angiotensin II receptor antagonists, also known as angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), AT1-receptor antagonists or sartans, are a group of pharmaceuticals that modulate the renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system. Their main uses are in the treatment of hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetic nephropathy (kidney damage due to diabetes) and congestive heart failure.
Angiotensin II receptor blockers are used primarily for the treatment of hypertension where the patient is intolerant of ACE inhibitor therapy. They do not inhibit the breakdown of bradykinin or other kinins, and are thus only rarely associated with the persistent dry cough and/or angioedema that limit ACE inhibitor therapy. More recently, they have been used for the treatment of heart failure in patients intolerant of ACE inhibitor therapy, in particular candesartan. Irbesartan and losartan have trial data showing benefit in hypertensive patients with type II diabetes, and may delay the progression of diabetic nephropathy. A 1998 double-blind study found "that lisinopril improved insulin sensitivity whereas losartan did not affect it." Candesartan is used experimentally in preventive treatment of migraine. Lisinopril has been found less often effective than candesartan at preventing migraine.
The angiotensin II receptor blockers have differing potencies in relation to blood pressure control, with statistically differing effects at the maximal doses. When used in clinical practice, the particular agent used may vary based on the degree of response required.
Some of these drugs have a uricosuric effect.
In one study after 10 weeks of treatment with an ARB called losartan (Cozaar), 88% of hypertensive males with sexual dysfunction reported improvement in at least one area of sexuality, and overall sexual satisfaction improved from 7.3% to 58.5%. In a study comparing beta-blocker carvedilol with valsartan, the angiotensin II receptor blocker not only had no deleterious effect on sexual function, but actually improved it. Other ARBs include candesartan (Atacand), telmisartan (Micardis), and Valsartan (Diovan), fimasartan (Kanarb).
Angiotensin II, through AT1 receptor stimulation, is a major stress hormone and, because (ARBs) block these receptors, in addition to their eliciting anti-hypertensive effects, may be considered for the treatment of stress-related disorders.
In 2008, they were reported to have a remarkable negative association with Alzheimer's disease (AD). A retrospective analysis of five million patient records with the US Department of Veterans Affairs system found different types of commonly used antihypertensive medications had very different AD outcomes. Those patients taking angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) were 35—40% less likely to develop AD than those using other antihypertensives.〔
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