Carvedilol accelerate elevation of serum potassium in chronic heart failure patients administered spironolactone plus furosemide and either enalapril maleate or candesartan cilexetil

M Saito, D Nakayama, M Takada, K Hirooka, Y Yasumura
Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics 2006, 31 (6): 535-40

OBJECTIVE: To retrospectively investigate the effect of carvedilol and spironolactone plus furosemide, administered concomitantly with an angiotensin II converting enzyme inhibitor (ACE-I) or an angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB) to patients with chronic heart failure (CHF).

METHODS: Patients with CHF, who visited Departments of Cardiovascular Internal Medicine at the National Hospital Organization Osaka Medical Center, were enrolled for this study. Serum potassium, blood urea nitrogen (BUN), serum creatinine (Scr) and serum sodium were measured in every patient at the time of start of treatment and after 3 and 12 months of treatment. Data from patients in groups A (20 mg/day carvedilol + 25 mg/day spironolactone + 40 mg/day furosemide + an ACE-I) and B (20 mg/day carvedilol + 25 mg/day spironolactone + 40 mg/day furosemide + ARB) were compared.

RESULTS: When 20 mg/day carvedilol plus 25 mg/day spironolactone plus 5 mg/day enalapril maleate (enalapril, group A) or 8 mg/day candesartan cilexetil (candesartan, group B) plus 40 mg/day furosemide were used concomitantly, the mean serum potassium increased significantly in both groups of patients. Seven of 59 (11.9%) patients had hyperkalemia (>5.5 mEq/L) during 12 months of treatment whereas 8.5% of patients (five of 59) had hypokalemia (< or =3.5 mEq/L).

CONCLUSION: When carvedilol is used concomitantly with spironolactone, furosemide and enalapril or candesartan, it is necessary to monitor serum potassium concentration, even if spironolactone is administered at a low dose of 25 mg/day.

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