Losartan Potassium and Hydrochlorothiazide (Page 5 of 8)

12.2 Pharmacodynamics

Losartan Potassium

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.


After oral administration of hydrochlorothiazide, diuresis begins within 2 hours, peaks in about 4 hours, and lasts about 6 to 12 hours.

Drug Interactions


Alcohol, barbiturates, or narcotics — potentiation of orthostatic hypotension may occur.

Other antihypertensive drugs — additive effect or potentiation.

Skeletal muscle relaxants, nondepolarizing (e.g., tubocurarine) — possible increased responsiveness to the muscle relaxant.

Corticosteroids, ACTH, or glycyrrhizin (found in liquorice) — intensified electrolyte depletion, particularly hypokalemia.

Pressor amines (e.g., norepinephrine) — possible decreased response to pressor amines but not sufficient to preclude their use.

12.3 Pharmacokinetics

Losartan Potassium

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 accumulate in plasma upon repeated once-daily dosing.


Hydrochlorothiazide is not metabolized but is eliminated rapidly by the kidney. When plasma levels have been followed for at least 24 hours, the plasma half-life has been observed to vary between 5.6 and 14.8 hours. At least 61 percent of the oral dose is eliminated unchanged within 24 hours. Hydrochlorothiazide crosses the placental but not the blood-brain barrier and is excreted in breast milk.

Specific Populations

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.


Pharmacokinetic differences due to race have not been studied [see also Use in Specific Populations (8.6)].

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. The lower starting dose of losartan recommended for use in patients with hepatic impairment cannot be given using losartan potassium and hydrochlorothiazide tablets. Its use in such patients as a means of losartan titration is, therefore, not recommended [see Warnings and Precautions (5.3) and Use in Specific Populations (8.7)].

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.


Following oral administration, the AUC for hydrochlorothiazide is increased by 70 and 700% for patients with mild and moderate renal insufficiency, respectively. In this study, renal clearance of hydrochlorothiazide decreased by 45 and 85% in patients with mild and moderate renal impairment, respectively.

Use the usual regimens of therapy with losartan potassium and hydrochlorothiazide tablets as long as the patient’s creatinine clearance is greater than 30 mL/min. Safety and effectiveness of losartan potassium and hydrochlorothiazide tablets in patients with severe renal impairment (creatinine clearance less than 30 mL/min) have not been established [see Use in Specific Populations (8.8)].

Drug Interactions

Losartan Potassium

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.


13.1 Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility

Losartan Potassium-Hydrochlorothiazide

No carcinogenicity studies have been conducted with the losartan potassium-hydrochlorothiazide combination.

Losartan potassium-hydrochlorothiazide when tested at a weight ratio of 4:1, was negative in the Ames microbial mutagenesis assay and the V-79 Chinese hamster lung cell mutagenesis assay. In addition, there was no evidence of direct genotoxicity in the in vitro alkaline elution assay in rat hepatocytes and in vitro chromosomal aberration assay in Chinese hamster ovary cells at noncytotoxic concentrations.

Losartan potassium, coadministered with hydrochlorothiazide, had no effect on the fertility or mating behavior of male rats at dosages up to 135 mg/kg/day of losartan and 33.75 mg/kg/day of hydrochlorothiazide. These dosages have been shown to provide respective systemic exposures (AUCs) for losartan, its active metabolite and hydrochlorothiazide that are approximately 60, 60 and 30 times greater than those achieved in humans with 100 mg of losartan potassium in combination with 25 mg of hydrochlorothiazide. In female rats, however, the coadministration of doses as low as 10 mg/kg/day of losartan and 2.5 mg/kg/day of hydrochlorothiazide was associated with slight but statistically significant decreases in fecundity and fertility indices. AUC values for losartan, its active metabolite and hydrochlorothiazide, extrapolated from data obtained with losartan administered to rats at a dose of 50 mg/kg/day in combination with 12.5 mg/kg/day of hydrochlorothiazide, were approximately 6, 2, and 2 times greater than those achieved in humans with 100 mg of losartan in combination with 25 mg of hydrochlorothiazide.

Losartan Potassium

Losartan potassium was not carcinogenic when administered at maximally tolerated dosages to rats and mice for 105 and 92 weeks, respectively. Female rats given the highest dose (270 mg/kg/day) had a slightly higher incidence of pancreatic acinar adenoma. The maximally tolerated dosages (270 mg/kg/day in rats, 200 mg/kg/day in mice) provided systemic exposures for losartan and its pharmacologically active metabolite that were approximately 160 and 90 times (rats) and 30 and 15 times (mice) the exposure of a 50 kg human given 100 mg per day.

Losartan potassium was negative in the microbial mutagenesis and V-79 mammalian cell mutagenesis assays and in the in vitro alkaline elution and in vitro and in vivo chromosomal aberration assays. In addition, the active metabolite showed no evidence of genotoxicity in the microbial mutagenesis, in vitro alkaline elution, and in vitro chromosomal aberration assays.

Fertility and reproductive performance were not affected in studies with male rats given oral doses of losartan potassium up to approximately 150 mg/kg/day. The administration of toxic dosage levels in females (300/200 mg/kg/day) was associated with a significant (p < 0.05) decrease in the number of corpora lutea/female, implants/female, and live fetuses/female at C-section. At 100 mg/kg/day only a decrease in the number of corpora lutea/female was observed. The relationship of these findings to drug-treatment is uncertain since there was no effect at these dosage levels on implants/pregnant female, percent post-implantation loss, or live animals/litter at parturition. In nonpregnant rats dosed at 135 mg/kg/day for 7 days, systemic exposure (AUCs) for losartan and its active metabolite were approximately 66 and 26 times the exposure achieved in man at the maximum recommended human daily dosage (100 mg).


Two-year feeding studies in mice and rats conducted under the auspices of the National Toxicology Program (NTP) uncovered no evidence of a carcinogenic potential of hydrochlorothiazide in female mice (at doses of up to approximately 600 mg/kg/day) or in male and female rats (at doses of up to approximately 100 mg/kg/day). The NTP, however, found equivocal evidence for hepatocarcinogenicity in male mice.

Hydrochlorothiazide was not genotoxic in vitro in the Ames mutagenicity assay of Salmonella typhimurium strains TA 98, TA 100, TA 1535, TA 1537, and TA 1538 and in the Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) test for chromosomal aberrations, or in vivo in assays using mouse germinal cell chromosomes, Chinese hamster bone marrow chromosomes, and the Drosophila sex-linked recessive lethal trait gene. Positive test results were obtained only in the in vitro CHO Sister Chromatid Exchange (clastogenicity) and in the Mouse Lymphoma Cell (mutagenicity) assays, using concentrations of hydrochlorothiazide from 43 to 1300 mcg/mL, and in the Aspergillus nidulans non-disjunction assay at an unspecified concentration.

Hydrochlorothiazide had no adverse effects on the fertility of mice and rats of either sex in studies wherein these species were exposed, via their diet, to doses of up to 100 and 4 mg/kg, respectively, prior to mating and throughout gestation.

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