The possibility that enalapril might damage renal function was investigated in 1098 deaths recorded in a prescription-event monitoring study. Case notes for 913 patients were examined. In seventy five there was a rise in the urea or creatinine concentration of 50% or more above pretreatment values. Enalapril appeared to have contributed to a decline in renal function and subsequent death in 10 of these patients. Several characteristics were identified among these patients, including old age, the use of high dose or potassium sparing diuretics, and pre-existing renal disease. Adding a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug was also associated with a deterioration in patients with previously stable renal function. No death was encountered of a patient with uncomplicated hypertension. Enalapril infrequently contributed to a substantial decline in renal function in certain vulnerable patients, especially those receiving other drugs known to be capable of adversely affecting renal function. Awareness of the characteristics of these patients and of their concomitant treatment may serve to reduce the risk.
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