Blood pressure drug helps kidney patients: study

Wed Feb 11, 2009 5:32pm EST
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By Will Dunham

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Large doses of AstraZeneca's high blood pressure drug Atacand may protect people with kidney disease from developing kidney failure and the need for dialysis or a transplant, researchers said on Wednesday.

Daily doses of eight times the normal amount of the drug, also known as candesartan, lowered abnormal amounts of protein in the urine, called proteinuria, in kidney disease patients in a Canadian study funded by AstraZeneca.

"We believe that the better the reduction in proteinuria you get with your treatment, the less likely the patient is to end up developing end-stage kidney disease requiring replacement therapy like dialysis or transplantation," said Dr. Ellen Burgess of the University of Calgary in Canada.

Burgess said reducing urinary protein can also cut the risk of cardiovascular disease such as heart attack and stroke.

The kidneys normally filter waste products from blood and leave behind things the body needs like proteins. But proteins get into urine when the kidney's filters are damaged.

Atacand is in a class of drugs called angiotensin II receptor blockers, or ARBs. They lower blood pressure and make it easier for the heart to pump blood.

Diabetes and high blood pressure are leading causes of serious kidney disease.

The study in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology involved 269 patients who had high protein levels in the urine despite a standard dose of 16 mg daily of Atacand.   Continued...