Lercanidipine: A Review of its Use in Hypertension

McClellan, K.J.; Jarvis, B.
November 2000
Drugs;Nov2000, Vol. 60 Issue 5, p1123
Academic Journal
Lercanidipine is a vasoselective dihydropyridine calcium antagonist which causes systemic vasodilation by blocking the influx of calcium ions through L-type calcium channels in cell membranes. It is a highly lipophilic drug and as such has a slower onset and longer duration of action than a number of other calcium antagonists. Preclinical evidence suggests that lercanidipine has antiatherogenic potential and it may also protect against end-organ damage. In well controlled clinical studies, once daily administration of lercanidipine 10 or 20mg effectively reduced blood pressure (BP) compared with placebo in patients with mild to moderate hypertension without affecting heart rate. Response rate (percentage of patients with diastolic BP ≤90mm Hg or reduced by ≥10mm Hg from baseline) ranged from 50 to 66% with lercanidipine 10 mg/day and up to 86% with lercanidipine 20 mg/day. The drug had a long duration of action: clinical measurements for diastolic BP yielded a trough/peak ratio of >0.8 for both lercanidipine dosages in 1 study. Comparative trials, either published in full or as abstracts, found lercanidipine 10mg once daily for ≥4 weeks to be at least as effective as atenolol 50mg once daily, candesartan cilexetil 16 mg/day, captopril 25mg twice daily, enalapril 20 mg/day, hydrochlorothiazide 12.5mg once daily, irbesartan 150 mg/day and slow release nifedipine 20mg twice daily in patients with mild to moderate hypertension. In addition, lercanidipine 20 mg/day was as effective as amlodipine 10 mg/day. Lercanidipine is effective in the treatment of elderly patients (aged 60 to 85 years) with mild to moderate essential hypertension and in those with isolated systolic hypertension. In addition, monotherapy with lercanidipine 20 or 40 mg/day has shown efficacy in patients with severe hypertension, and add-on therapy helped control BP in a large proportion of patients with severe hypertension not responding sufficiently to β-blockers, diuretics or ACE inhibitors. Unpublished data indicate that the drug reduces blood pressure in patients with type 2 (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus, without adversely affecting glucose homeostasis. Lercanidipine was well tolerated in clinical trials, with most treatment-related adverse events typical of dihydropyridine calcium antagonists, namely headache, flushing, dizziness and ankle oedema. Conclusions: Lercanidipine is an effective and well tolerated once daily antihypertensive agent in patients with mild to moderate hypertension. In addition, the drug may reduce BP when used as monotherapy in patients with severe hypertension or when used adjunctively in patients with resistant hypertension. Importantly, lercanidipine appears to be at least as effective and well tolerated as other commonly used antihypertensive agents. The drug therefore represents a useful therapeutic option in the management of patients with hypertension and will be particularly useful in patients not responding to, or intolerant of, antihypertensive agents from other drug classes.


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