Antihypertensive agents for preventing diabetic kidney disease

Renal and Metabolic Division, The George Institute for Global Health, Level 10, KGV Building, RPAH, Missenden Rd, Camperdown, NSW, Australia, 2050.
Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) (Impact Factor: 6.03). 12/2012; 12(12):CD004136. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD004136.pub3
Source: PubMed


Various blood pressure-lowering agents, and particularly inhibitors of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS), are widely used for people with diabetes to prevent the onset of diabetic kidney disease (DKD) and adverse cardiovascular outcomes. This is an update of a Cochrane review first published in 2003 and updated in 2005.
This systematic review aimed to assess the benefits and harms of blood pressure lowering agents in people with diabetes mellitus and a normal amount of albumin in the urine (normoalbuminuria).
In January 2011 we searched the Cochrane Renal Group's Specialised Register through contact with the Trials Search Co-ordinator.
Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) comparing any antihypertensive agent with placebo or another agent in hypertensive or normotensive patients with diabetes and no kidney disease (albumin excretion rate < 30 mg/d) were included.
Two investigators independently extracted data on kidney and other patient-relevant outcomes (all-cause mortality and serious cardiovascular events), and assessed study quality. Analysis was by a random effects model was applied to analyse results which were expressed as risk ratio (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI).
We identified 26 studies that enrolling 61,264 participants. Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEi) reduced the risk of new onset of microalbuminuria, macroalbuminuria or both when compared to placebo (8 studies, 11,906 patients: RR 0.71, 95% CI 0.56 to 0.89), with similar benefits in people with and without hypertension (P = 0.74), and when compared to calcium channel blockers (5 studies, 1253 participants: RR 0.60, 95% CI 0.42 to 0.85). ACEi reduced the risk of death when compared to placebo (6 studies, 11,350 participants: RR 0.84, 95% CI 0.73 to 0.97). No effect was observed for angiotensin receptor blockers (ARB) when compared to placebo for new microalbuminuria, macroalbuminuria or both (5 studies, 7653 participants: RR 0.90, 95% CI 0.68 to 1.19) or death (5 studies, 7653 participants: RR 1.12, 95% CI 0.88 to 1.41); however, meta-regression suggested possible benefits from ARB for preventing kidney disease in high risk patients. There was a trend towards benefit from use of combined ACEi and ARB for prevention of DKD compared with ACEi alone (2 studies, 4171 participants: RR 0.88, 95% CI 0.78 to 1.00).The risk of cough was significantly increased with ACEi when compared to placebo (6 studies, 11,791 patients: RR 1.84, 95% CI 1.24 to 2.72), however there was no significant difference in the risk of headache or hyperkalaemia. There was no significant difference in the risk of cough, headache or hyperkalaemia when ARB was to placebo. On average risk of bias was judged to be either low (27% to 69%) or unclear (i.e. no information available) (8% to 73%). Blinding of participants, incomplete outcome data and selective reporting were judged to be high in 23%, 31% and 31% of studies, respectively.
ACEi were found to prevent new onset DKD and death in normoalbuminuric people with diabetes, and could therefore be used in this population. More data are needed to clarify the role of ARB and other drug classes in preventing DKD.

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    ABSTRACT: The current pandemic of diabetes mellitus will inevitably be followed by an epidemic of chronic kidney disease. It is anticipated that 25-40% of patients with type 1 diabetes and 5-40% of patients with type 2 diabetes will ultimately develop diabetic kidney disease. The control of blood pressure represents a key component for the prevention and management of diabetic nephropathy. There is a strong epidemiological connection between hypertension in diabetes and adverse outcomes in diabetes. Hypertension is closely linked to insulin resistance as part of the 'metabolic syndrome'. Diabetic nephropathy may lead to hypertension through direct actions on renal sodium handling, vascular compliance and vasomotor function. Recent clinical trials also support the utility of blood pressure reduction in the prevention of diabetic kidney disease. In patients with normoalbuminuria, transition to microalbuminuria can be prevented by blood pressure reduction. This action appears to be significant regardless of whether patients have elevated blood pressure or not. The efficacy of ACE inhibition appears to be greater than that achieved by other agents with a similar degree of blood pressure reduction; although large observational studies suggest the risk of microalbuminuria may be reduced by blood pressure reduction, regardless of modality. In patients with established microalbuminuria, ACE inhibitors and angiotensin receptor antagonists (angiotensin receptor blockers [ARBs]) consistently reduce the risk of progression from microalbuminuria to macroalbuminuria, over and above their antihypertensive actions. The clinical utility of combining these strategies remains to be established. In patients with overt nephropathy, blood pressure reduction is associated with reduced urinary albumin excretion and, subsequently, a reduced risk of renal impairment or end stage renal disease. In addition to actions on systemic blood pressure, it is now clear that ACE inhibitors and ARBs also reduce proteinuria in patients with diabetes. This anti-proteinuric activity is distinct from other antihypertensive agents and diuretics. Although there is a clear physiological rationale for blockade of the renin angiotensin system, which is strongly supported by clinical studies, to achieve the optimal lowering of blood pressure, particularly in the setting of established diabetic renal disease, a number of different antihypertensive agents will always be needed. In the end, the choice of agents should be individualised to achieve the maximal tolerated reduction in blood pressure and albuminuria. Ultimately, no matter how it is achieved, so long as it is achieved, renal risk can be reduced by agents that lower blood pressure and albuminuria.
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