Usefulness of losartan, captopril, and furosemide in preventing nitrate tolerance and improving control of unstable angina pectoris

Gad Cotter, Einat Metzkor-Cotter, Edo Kaluski, Alex Blatt, Irena Litinsky, Yehuda Baumohl, Yaron Moshkovitz, Zvi Vered, Ronit Zaidenstein, Ahuva Golik

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16 Scopus citations


Sixty consecutive normotensive patients with unstable angina pectoris, who were on continuous intravenous isosorbide dinitrate (ISDN) treatment and had not previously received angiotensin II receptor antagonists, angiotensin- converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, or diuretics were randomly assigned to treatment groups receiving intravenous ISDN for 72 hours. No additional treatment was given to group A (n = 15). Captopril, in a test dose of 6.25 mg, and followed by 12.5 mg 3 times daily for 24 hours and 25 mg 3 times daily for the next 24 hours, was given to group B (n = 15). The same dose of captopril plus 40 mg of furosemide in the morning were given to group C (n = 15). Losartan, in a single dose of 25 mg/day and increased to 50 mg after 24 hours was given to group D (n = 15). Nitrate tolerance was evaluated at 24- hour intervals at trough levels of each of the drugs by administering intravenous ISDN (1 mg bolus dose every 4 minutes) and recording the total ISDN test dose required to decrease the mean arterial blood pressure by ≥10%. Treatment with continuous ISDN only (group A) induced nitrate tolerance. The ISDN (mean ± SD) test dose was 3.5 ± 1.8 mg at baseline, increasing to 4.9 ± 2.4 mg at 24 hours, and 8.0 ± 3.0 mg at 48 hours. The addition of increasing doses of captopril to the continuous ISDN treatment (group B) completely prevented nitrate tolerance. Losartan, however, did not attenuate nitrate tolerance at 24 hours and attenuated it only partially at 48 hours. The addition of furosemide to captopril had no further effect on nitrate tolerance. Of 15 patients in group A (ISDN only), 4 (27%) experienced recurrent ischemic events requiring urgent coronary catheterization. No such events were recorded in group B (captopril), but did occur in 1 patient in each of group C (captopril plus furosemide) and D (losartan) (p = 0.083). Thus, the addition of captopril to the ISDN treatment regimen prevented tolerance to nitrates and improved angina control with apparent safety. Losartan also decreased nitrate tolerance, although to a lesser extent, and also improved angina control. The addition of furosemide to captopril conferred no further benefit.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1024-1029
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Cardiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


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