Angiotensin II [formed from angiotensin I in a reaction catalyzed by angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE, kininase II)] is a potent vasoconstrictor, the primary vasoactive hormone of the renin-angiotensin system, and an important component in the pathophysiology of hypertension. It also stimulates aldosterone secretion by the adrenal cortex. Losartan and its principal active metabolite block the vasoconstrictor and aldosterone-secreting effects of angiotensin II by selectively blocking the binding of angiotensin II to the AT1 receptor found in many tissues, (e.g., vascular smooth muscle, adrenal gland). There is also an AT2 receptor found in many tissues but it is not known to be associated with cardiovascular homeostasis. Neither losartan nor its principal active metabolite exhibits any partial agonist activity at the AT1 receptor, and both have much greater affinity (about 1000-fold) for the AT1 receptor than for the AT2 receptor. In vitro binding studies indicate that losartan is a reversible, competitive inhibitor of the AT1 receptor. The active metabolite is 10 to 40 times more potent by weight than losartan and appears to be a reversible, non-competitive inhibitor of the AT1 receptor.
Neither losartan nor its active metabolite inhibits ACE (kininase II, the enzyme that converts angiotensin I to angiotensin II and degrades bradykinin), nor do they bind to or block other hormone receptors or ion channels known to be important in cardiovascular regulation.
Losartan inhibits the pressor effect of angiotensin II (as well as angiotensin I) infusions. A dose of 100 mg inhibits the pressor effect by about 85% at peak with 25 to 40% inhibition persisting for 24 hours. Removal of the negative feedback of angiotensin II causes a doubling to tripling in plasma renin activity and consequent rise in angiotensin II plasma concentration in hypertensive patients. Losartan does not affect the response to bradykinin, whereas ACE inhibitors increase the response to bradykinin. Aldosterone plasma concentrations fall following losartan administration. In spite of the effect of losartan on aldosterone secretion, very little effect on serum potassium was observed.
The effect of losartan is substantially present within one week but in some studies the maximal effect occurred in 3 to 6 weeks. In long-term follow-up studies (without placebo control) the effect of losartan appeared to be maintained for up to a year. There is no apparent rebound effect after abrupt withdrawal of losartan. There was essentially no change in average heart rate in losartan-treated patients in controlled trials.
Absorption: Following oral administration, losartan is well absorbed and undergoes substantial first-pass metabolism. The systemic bioavailability of losartan is approximately 33%. Mean peak concentrations of losartan and its active metabolite are reached in 1 hour and in 3 to 4 hours, respectively. While maximum plasma concentrations of losartan and its active metabolite are approximately equal, the AUC (area under the curve) of the metabolite is about 4 times as great as that of losartan. A meal slows absorption of losartan and decreases its Cmax but has only minor effects on losartan AUC or on the AUC of the metabolite (~10% decrease). The pharmacokinetics of losartan and its active metabolite are linear with oral losartan doses up to 200 mg and do not change over time.
Distribution: The volume of distribution of losartan and the active metabolite is about 34 liters and 12 liters, respectively. Both losartan and its active metabolite are highly bound to plasma proteins, primarily albumin, with plasma free fractions of 1.3% and 0.2%, respectively. Plasma protein binding is constant over the concentration range achieved with recommended doses. Studies in rats indicate that losartan crosses the blood-brain barrier poorly, if at all.
Metabolism: Losartan is an orally active agent that undergoes substantial first-pass metabolism by cytochrome P450 enzymes. It is converted, in part, to an active carboxylic acid metabolite that is responsible for most of the angiotensin II receptor antagonism that follows losartan treatment. About 14% of an orally-administered dose of losartan is converted to the active metabolite. In addition to the active carboxylic acid metabolite, several inactive metabolites are formed. In vitro studies indicate that cytochrome P450 2C9 and 3A4 are involved in the biotransformation of losartan to its metabolites.
Elimination: Total plasma clearance of losartan and the active metabolite is about 600 mL/min and 50 mL/min, respectively, with renal clearance of about 75 mL/min and 25 mL/min, respectively. The terminal half-life of losartan is about 2 hours and of the metabolite is about 6 to 9 hours. After single doses of losartan administered orally, about 4% of the dose is excreted unchanged in the urine and about 6% is excreted in urine as active metabolite. Biliary excretion contributes to the elimination of losartan and its metabolites. Following oral 14 C-labeled losartan, about 35% of radioactivity is recovered in the urine and about 60% in the feces. Following an intravenous dose of 14 C-labeled losartan, about 45% of radioactivity is recovered in the urine and 50% in the feces. Neither losartan nor its metabolite accumulates in plasma upon repeated once-daily dosing.
Pediatric: Pharmacokinetic parameters after multiple doses of losartan (average dose 0.7 mg/kg, range 0.36 to 0.97 mg/kg) as a tablet to 25 hypertensive patients aged 6 to 16 years are shown in Table 4 below. Pharmacokinetics of losartan and its active metabolite were generally similar across the studied age groups and similar to historical pharmacokinetic data in adults. The principal pharmacokinetic parameters in adults and children are shown in the table below.
|Adults given 50 mg once daily for 7 days N=12||Age 6 to 16 given 0.7 mg/kg once daily for 7 days N=25|
|Parent||Active Metabolite||Parent||Active Metabolite|
|AUC0-24 (ng•hr/mL)*||442 ± 173||1685 ± 452||368 ± 169||1866 ± 1076|
|CMAX (ng/mL)*||224 ± 82||212 ± 73||141 ± 88||222 ± 127|
|T1/2 (h)†||2.1 ± 0.70||7.4 ± 2.4||2.3 ± 0.8||5.6 ± 1.2|
|CLREN (mL/min)*||56 ± 23||20 ± 3||53 ± 33||17 ± 8|
*Mean ± standard deviation
†Harmonic mean and standard deviation
The bioavailability of the suspension formulation was compared with losartan tablets in healthy adults. The suspension and tablet are similar in their bioavailability with respect to both losartan and the active metabolite [see Dosage and Administration (2.5)].
Geriatric and Gender: Losartan pharmacokinetics have been investigated in the elderly (65 to 75 years) and in both genders. Plasma concentrations of losartan and its active metabolite are similar in elderly and young hypertensives. Plasma concentrations of losartan were about twice as high in female hypertensives as male hypertensives, but concentrations of the active metabolite were similar in males and females. No dosage adjustment is necessary [see Dosage and Administration (2.1)].
Race: Pharmacokinetic differences due to race have not been studied [see Use in Specific Populations (8.6)].
Renal Insufficiency: Following oral administration, plasma concentrations and AUCs of losartan and its active metabolite are increased by 50 to 90% in patients with mild (creatinine clearance of 50 to 74 mL/min) or moderate (creatinine clearance 30 to 49 mL/min) renal insufficiency. In this study, renal clearance was reduced by 55 to 85% for both losartan and its active metabolite in patients with mild or moderate renal insufficiency. Neither losartan nor its active metabolite can be removed by hemodialysis [see Warnings and Precautions (5.3) and Use in Specific Populations (8.7)].
Hepatic Insufficiency: Following oral administration in patients with mild to moderate alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver, plasma concentrations of losartan and its active metabolite were, respectively, 5-times and about 1.7-times those in young male volunteers. Compared to normal subjects the total plasma clearance of losartan in patients with hepatic insufficiency was about 50% lower and the oral bioavailability was about doubled. Use a starting dose of 25 mg for patients with mild to moderate hepatic impairment. Losartan potassium has not been studied in patients with severe hepatic impairment [see Dosage and Administration (2.4) and Use in Specific Populations (8.8)].
No clinically significant drug interactions have been found in studies of losartan potassium with hydrochlorothiazide, digoxin, warfarin, cimetidine and phenobarbital. However, rifampin has been shown to decrease the AUC of losartan and its active metabolite by 30% and 40%, respectively. Fluconazole, an inhibitor of cytochrome P450 2C9, decreased the AUC of the active metabolite by approximately 40%, but increased the AUC of losartan by approximately 70% following multiple doses. Conversion of losartan to its active metabolite after intravenous administration is not affected by ketoconazole, an inhibitor of P450 3A4. The AUC of active metabolite following oral losartan was not affected by erythromycin, an inhibitor of P450 3A4, but the AUC of losartan was increased by 30%.
The pharmacodynamic consequences of concomitant use of losartan and inhibitors of P450 2C9 have not been examined. Subjects who do not metabolize losartan to active metabolite have been shown to have a specific, rare defect in cytochrome P450 2C9. These data suggest that the conversion of losartan to its active metabolite is mediated primarily by P450 2C9 and not P450 3A4.
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