Leading the way to safer medication
 Crosscheck  Recommender


Also known as: Candesartan cilexetil

Brand names: ATACAND ATACAND HCT (in combination)

Mechanism of Action

Angiotensin II is the primary vasoactive hormone of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system and plays a role in the pathophysiology of hypertension, heart failure and other cardiovascular disorders. It also has a role in the pathogenesis of end organ hypertrophy and damage. The major physiological effects of angiotensin II, such as vasoconstriction, aldosterone stimulation, regulation of salt and water homeostasis and stimulation of cell growth, are mediated via the type 1 (AT1) receptor.

Pharmacodynamic Properties

Pharmacodynamic effects

Candesartan is a prodrug suitable for oral use. It is rapidly converted to the active substance, candesartan, by ester hydrolysis during absorption from the gastrointestinal tract. Candesartan is an AIIRA, selective for AT1 receptors, with tight binding to and slow dissociation from the receptor. It has no agonist activity.

Candesartan does not inhibit ACE, which converts angiotensin I to angiotensin II and degrades bradykinin. There is no effect on ACE and no potentiation of bradykinin or substance P. In controlled clinical trials comparing candesartan with ACE inhibitors, the incidence of cough was lower in patients receiving Candesartan. Candesartan does not bind to or block other hormone receptors or ion channels known to be important in cardiovascular regulation. The antagonism of the angiotensin II (AT1) receptors results in dose related increases in plasma renin levels, angiotensin I and angiotensin II levels, and a decrease in plasma aldosterone concentration.

Pharmacokinetic Properties

Absorption and distribution

Following oral administration, candesartan is converted to the active substance candesartan. The absolute bioavailability of candesartan is approximately 40% after an oral solution of candesartan. The relative bioavailability of the tablet formulation compared with the same oral solution is approximately 34% with very little variability. The estimated absolute bioavailability of the tablet is therefore 14%. The mean peak serum concentration (Cmax) is reached 3to4 hours following tablet intake. The candesartan serum concentrations increase linearly with increasing doses in the therapeutic dose range. No gender related differences in the pharmacokinetics of candesartan have been observed. The area under the serum concentration versus time curve (AUC) of candesartan is not significantly affected by food.

Candesartan is highly bound to plasma protein (more than 99%). The apparent volume of distribution of candesartan is 0.1 l/kg.

The bioavailability of candesartan is not affected by food.

Biotransformation and elimination

Candesartan is mainly eliminated unchanged via urine and bile and only to a minor extent eliminated by hepatic metabolism (CYP2C9). Available interaction studies indicate no effect on CYP2C9 and CYP3A4. Based on in vitro data, no interaction would be expected to occur in vivo with drugs whose metabolism is dependent upon cytochrome P450 isoenzymes CYP1A2, CYP2A6, CYP2C9, CYP2C19, CYP2D6, CYP2E1 or CYP3A4. The terminal half-life of candesartan is approximately 9 hours. There is no accumulation following multiple doses.

Total plasma clearance of candesartan is about 0.37 ml/min/kg, with a renal clearance of about 0.19 ml/min/kg. The renal elimination of candesartan is both by glomerular filtration and active tubular secretion. Following an oral dose of 14C-labelled Candesartan, approximately 26% of the dose is excreted in the urine as candesartan and 7% as an inactive metabolite while approximately 56% of the dose is recovered in the faeces as candesartan and 10% as the inactive metabolite.

Pharmacokinetics in special populations

In the elderly (over 65 years) Cmax and AUC of candesartan are increased by approximately 50% and 80%, respectively in comparison to young subjects. However, the blood pressure response and the incidence of adverse events are similar after a given dose of candesartan in young and elderly patients.

In patients with mild to moderate renal impairment Cmax and AUC of candesartan increased during repeated dosing by approximately 50% and 70%, respectively, but t½ was not altered, compared to patients with normal renal function. The corresponding changes in patients with severe renal impairment were approximately 50% and 110%, respectively. The terminal t½ of candesartan was approximately doubled in patients with severe renal impairment. The AUC of candesartan in patients undergoing haemodialysis was similar to that in patients with severe renal impairment.

In two studies, both including patients with mild to moderate hepatic impairment, there was an increase in the mean AUC of candesartan of approximately 20% in one study and 80% in the other study. There is no experience in patients with severe hepatic impairment.

Paediatric population

The pharmacokinetic properties of candesartan were evaluated in hypertensive children aged 1 to <6 years and 6 to <17 years in two single dose PK studies.

In children aged 1 to <6 years, 10 children weighing 10 to <25 kg received a single dose of 0.2 mg/kg, oral suspension. There was no correlation between Cmax and AUC with age or weight. No clearance data has been collected; therefore the possibility of a correlation between clearance and weight/age in this population is unknown.

In children aged 6 to <17 years, 22 children received a single dose of 16 mg tablet. There was no correlation between Cmax and AUC with age. However weight seems to significantly correlate with Cmax (p=0.012) and AUC (p=0.011). No clearance data, has been collected, therefore the possibility of a correlation between clearance and weight/age in this population is unknown.

Children >6 years of age had exposure similar to adults given the same dose.

The pharmacokinetics of Candesartan have not been investigated in paediatric patients <1 year of age.

Preclinical Safety Data

There was no evidence of abnormal systemic or target organ toxicity at clinically relevant doses. In preclinical safety studies candesartan had effects on the kidneys and on red cell parameters at high doses in mice, rats, dogs and monkeys. Candesartan caused a reduction of red blood cell parameters (erythrocytes, haemoglobin, haematocrit). Effects on the kidneys (such as interstitial nephritis, tubular distension, basophilic tubules; increased plasma concentrations of urea and creatinine) were induced by candesartan which could be secondary to the hypotensive effect leading to alterations of renal perfusion. Furthermore, candesartan induced hyperplasia/hypertrophy of the juxtaglomerular cells. These changes were considered to be caused by the pharmacological action of candesartan. For therapeutic doses of candesartan in humans, the hyperplasia/hypertrophy of the renal juxtaglomerular cells does not seem to have any relevance.

In preclinical studies in normotensive neonatal and juvenile rats, candesartan caused a reduction in body weight and heart weight. As in adult animals, these effects are considered to result from the pharmacological action of candesartan. At the lowest dose of 10 mg/kg exposure to candesartan was between 12 and 78 times the levels found in children aged 1 to <6 who received Candesartan at a dose of 0.2 mg/kg and 7 to 54 times those found in children aged 6 to <17 who received Candesartan at a dose of 16 mg. As a no observed effect level was not identified in these studies, the safety margin for the effects on heart weight and the clinical relevance of the finding is unknown.

Foetotoxicity has been observed in late pregnancy.

Data from in vitro and in vivo mutagenicity testing indicates that candesartan will not exert mutagenic or clastogenic activities under conditions of clinical use.

There was no evidence of carcinogenicity.

The renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system plays a critical role in kidney development in utero. Renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system blockade has been shown to lead to abnormal kidney development in very young mice. Administering drugs that act directly on the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system can alter normal renal development. Therefore, children aged less than 1 year should not receive candesartan.

Related medicines