Losartan, the first AT1 receptor blocker (ARB), was FDA approved 15 years ago. During those years, researchers and clinicians have developed a growing base of knowledge on the benefits of losartan, particularly for hypertension and renal disease. These benefits include decreasing proteinuria, slowing the progression of diabetic nephropathy, controlling hypertension, and decreasing stroke risk in patients with left ventricular hypertrophy. Although many of the benefits of losartan represent a class effect for ARBs, losartan has pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic characteristics and effects that are unique and are not a class effect. For example, a shorter duration of action is seen with this first ARB compared with other more recently approved ARBs. Losartan also has a uricosuric effect not seen in other ARBs and attenuates platelet aggregation, which is not seen or is seen to a lesser extent with the other ARBs. This review presents the physiological effects of losartan on the kidney and discusses relevant clinical outcomes.
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