REVIEW Losartan competitively inhibits the binding of angiotensin II to AT1 in many tissues including vascular smooth muscle and the adrenal glands. Losartan is metabolized to its active metabolite, E-3174, which is 10 to 40 times more potent than losartan and acts as a non-competitive AT1 antagonist. Inhibition of angiotensin II binding to AT1 inhibits its AT1-mediated vasoconstrictive and aldosterone-secreting effects and results in decreased vascular resistance and blood pressure. Losartan is 1,000 times more selective for AT1 than AT2. Inhibition of aldosterone secretion may increase sodium and water excretion while decreasing potassium excretion. Losartan is effective for reducing blood pressure and may be used to treat essential hypertension, left ventricular hypertrophy and diabetic nephropathy.
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