Losartan Potassium

LOSARTAN POTASSIUM- losartan potassium tablet, film coated
Actavis Pharma, Inc.

25 mg, 50 mg and 100 mgRx only


When used in pregnancy during the second and third trimesters, drugs that act directly on the renin-angiotensin system can cause injury and even death to the developing fetus. When pregnancy is detected, losartan potassium tablets should be discontinued as soon as possible. See WARNINGS, Fetal/Neonatal Morbidity and Mortality.


Losartan potassium is an angiotensin II receptor (type AT1 ) antagonist. Losartan potassium, a non-peptide molecule, is chemically described as 2-butyl-4-chloro-1-[p -(o -1H -tetrazol-5-ylphenyl)benzyl]imidazole-5-methanol monopotassium salt.

Its empirical formula is C22 H22 ClKN6 O, and its structural formula is:

molecular structure
(click image for full-size original)

Losartan potassium is a white to off-white free-flowing crystalline powder with a molecular weight of 461.01. It is freely soluble in water, soluble in alcohols, and slightly soluble in common organic solvents, such as acetonitrile and methyl ethyl ketone. Oxidation of the 5-hydroxymethyl group on the imidazole ring results in the active metabolite of losartan.

Losartan potassium is available as tablets for oral administration containing either 25 mg, 50 mg or 100 mg of losartan potassium and the following inactive ingredients: lactose monohydrate, microcrystalline cellulose, pregelatinized starch, silicon dioxide, magnesium stearate, polyvinyl alcohol-part.hydrolyzed, macrogol/PEG 3350, talc, titanium dioxide, D&C yellow No. 10 aluminum lake and FD&C blue No. 2 indigo carmine aluminum lake.

Losartan potassium tablets, USP 25 mg, 50 mg and 100 mg contain potassium in the following amounts: 2.12 mg (0.054 mEq), 4.24 mg (0.108 mEq) and 8.48 mg (0.216 mEq), respectively.


Mechanism of Action

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. Both losartan and its principal active metabolite do not exhibit any partial agonist activity at the AT1 receptor and 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 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. Losartan metabolites have been identified in human plasma and urine. In addition to the active carboxylic acid metabolite, several inactive metabolites are formed. Following oral and intravenous administration of 14 C-labeled losartan potassium, circulating plasma radioactivity is primarily attributed to losartan and its active metabolite. In vitro studies indicate that cytochrome P450 2C9 and 3A4 are involved in the biotransformation of losartan to its metabolites. Minimal conversion of losartan to the active metabolite (less than 1% of the dose compared to 14% of the dose in normal subjects) was seen in about one percent of individuals studied.

The terminal half-life of losartan is about 2 hours and of the metabolite is about 6 to 9 hours.

The pharmacokinetics of losartan and its active metabolite are linear with oral losartan doses up to 200 mg and do not change over time. Neither losartan nor its metabolite accumulate in plasma upon repeated once-daily dosing.

Following oral administration, losartan is well absorbed (based on absorption of radiolabeled losartan) and undergoes substantial first-pass metabolism; the systemic bioavailability of losartan is approximately 33%. About 14% of an orally-administered dose of losartan is converted to the active metabolite. Mean peak concentrations of losartan and its active metabolite are reached in 1 hour and in 3-4 hours, respectively. While maximum plasma concentrations of losartan and its active metabolite are approximately equal, the AUC 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 (about 10% decreased).

The pharmacokinetics of losartan and its active metabolite were also determined after IV doses of each component separately in healthy volunteers. The volume of distribution of losartan and the active metabolite is about 34 liters and 12 liters, respectively. 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. 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.

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.

Special Populations

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 1 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.

Table 1 Pharmacokinetic Parameters in Hypertensive Adults and Children Age 6 to 16 Following Multiple Dosing
Adults given 50 mg once daily for 7 daysN=12 Age 6 to 16 given 0.7 mg/kg once daily for 7 daysN=25
Mean ± standard deviation
Harmonic mean and standard deviation
Parent Active Metabolite Parent Active Metabolite
AUC0-24 *(ng•h/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
TPEAK (h) 0.9 3.5 2.0 4.1
CLREN (mL/min)* 56 ± 23 20 ± 3 53 ± 33 17 ± 8

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, Preparation of Suspension).

Geriatric and Gender: Losartan pharmacokinetics have been investigated in the elderly (65-75 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).

Race: Pharmacokinetic differences due to race have not been studied (see also PRECAUTIONS, Race and CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY, Pharmacodynamics and Clinical Effects, Reduction in the Risk of Stroke, Race).

Renal Insufficiency: Following oral administration, plasma concentrations and AUCs of losartan and its active metabolite are increased by 50-90% 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 55-85% 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. No dosage adjustment is necessary for patients with renal impairment unless they are volume-depleted (see WARNINGS, Hypotension — Volume-Depleted Patients and DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION ).

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 2 times higher. A lower starting dose is recommended for patients with a history of hepatic impairment (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).

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