, Volume 20, Issue 9, pp 1208-1213
Date: 22 Jun 2005

The role of calcium antagonists in patients with chronic renal failure

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The objective of antihypertensive treatment in patients with chronic renal failure, many of whom have elevated blood pressure levels, is to reduce cardiovascular events and to slow down the progression of kidney function impairment. Calcium antagonists have been shown to be effective and safe antihypertensive drugs in patients from different age groups, including children. On the basis of numerous studies, one may conclude that the main benefit of antihypertensive therapy is because of the blood pressure lowering effect per se and that calcium antagonists do not differ from other antihypertensive drugs in the ability to prevent cardiovascular complications of hypertension. In particular, calcium antagonists are not inferior to other groups of antihypertensive agents in the prevention of coronary artery disease. There is, however, now evidence from controlled clinical trials that drugs interfering with the renin–angiotensin system are more beneficial than other antihypertensive agents in patients with chronic renal failure. Thus, several studies have demonstrated that ACE-inhibitors and, in patients with type-2 diabetic nephropathy, AT 1-antagonists are superior to other classes of antihypertensive drugs, including calcium antagonists, in delaying the progression of renal insufficiency. Therefore, in hypertensive patients with chronic renal failure antihypertensive treatment should be initiated with a drug that inhibits the renin–angiotensin system.