Hypertension or high blood pressure is a common cardiovascular disease that affects millions of people worldwide. It is a leading risk factor for heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular events. The treatment of hypertension is essential to reduce the risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Among the different classes of antihypertensive drugs, calcium channel blockers (CCBs) are widely used for the management of hypertension.
Lercanidipine: pharmacology and mechanism of action
Lercanidipine is a third-generation dihydropyridine CCB that selectively blocks L-type calcium channels in vascular smooth muscle cells. It is a lipophilic compound with a long half-life of 8-10 hours and is extensively metabolized in the liver. Lercanidipine is available in tablet form and is taken orally once a day.
Lercanidipine lowers blood pressure by relaxing the smooth muscles of the arterial wall, reducing peripheral vascular resistance, and increasing blood flow to the heart. It also has a cardioprotective effect by reducing the workload of the heart and improving myocardial oxygen supply.
Clinical efficacy and safety
Several clinical studies have evaluated the efficacy and safety of lercanidipine for the treatment of hypertension. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial conducted on 331 hypertensive patients demonstrated that lercanidipine significantly reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure compared to placebo. Another study conducted on 305 hypertensive patients found that lercanidipine was as effective as enalapril, an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor, in lowering blood pressure. However, lercanidipine had a lower incidence of adverse effects than enalapril.
Lercanidipine has also been studied in combination with other antihypertensive drugs. A randomized, double-blind study conducted on 221 patients with mild-to-moderate hypertension demonstrated that the combination of lercanidipine and enalapril was more effective in lowering blood pressure than either drug alone. Another study conducted on 109 hypertensive patients found that the combination of lercanidipine and hydrochlorothiazide, a thiazide diuretic, was more effective in reducing blood pressure than lercanidipine alone.
Lercanidipine has a good safety profile, and the most common adverse effects reported are mild to moderate and include headache, dizziness, flushing, and peripheral oedema. Lercanidipine has a low incidence of drug interactions, and it can be safely used in patients with concomitant diseases such as diabetes, renal impairment, and heart failure.
Lercanidipine is a safe and effective CCB for the management of hypertension. It has a favourable pharmacological profile, and its long half-life allows once-daily dosing. Lercanidipine can be used alone or in combination with other antihypertensive drugs, and it has a low incidence of adverse effects and drug interactions. However, lercanidipine should be used with caution in patients with severe hepatic impairment, and its use in pregnant and lactating women is not recommended.
Lercanidipine is a valuable option for the treatment of hypertension, and its use should be considered in patients with hypertension who do not achieve optimal blood pressure control with other antihypertensive drugs or who experience adverse effects with other drugs. As with all antihypertensive medications, lercanidipine should be used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes lifestyle modifications such as weight loss, physical activity, and a healthy diet. It is important to regularly monitor blood pressure and adjust treatment as necessary to achieve optimal blood pressure control and reduce the risk of cardiovascular events.
Lercanidipine is a well-tolerated and effective medication for the treatment of hypertension. Its mechanism of action and pharmacological properties make it a valuable option for hypertensive patients. However, as with any medication, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the best treatment plan for an individual’s specific needs and circumstances.
Tim Williamson, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.