Appropriate drug therapy for improving outcomes in diabetic nephropathy
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Diabetic nephropathy is the leading cause of end-stage kidney disease in the United States. The majority of these cases are attributed to those with type 2 diabetes. Elevated blood pressure, proteinuria, and increased activity of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) play a major role in the development and progression of chronic kidney disease attributed to diabetes mellitus. Moreover, drugs that inhibit angiotensin II synthesis or block the angiotensin II type 1 receptor lower blood pressure, reduce proteinuria, and improve outcomes in patients with chronic kidney disease caused by diabetes. This article highlights improvements in the current management of diabetic nephropathy afforded by agents that inhibit the RAAS, discusses their limitations, and considers novel strategies to prevent onset and progression of diabetic nephropathy. Current opinions concerning combination drug therapy with agents that block the RAAS at multiple sites, as well as combining calcium channel blockers with either angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin II receptor antagonists, are also discussed.
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