JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

[Vasopressin receptor antagonists: the vaptans]

Carles Villabona
Endocrinología y Nutrición: órgano de la Sociedad Española de Endocrinología y Nutrición 2010, 57 Suppl 2: 41-52
21130961
The non-peptide vasopressin antagonists (VPA), called vaptans, were developed in the 1990s to antagonize both the pressor and antidiuretic effects of vasopressin. There are three subtypes of VPA receptors: V1a, V1b and V2. V1a receptors are widely distributed in the body, mainly the blood vessels and myocardium. The V1b receptors are located mainly in the anterior pituitary gland and play a role in ACTH release. V2 receptors are located in the collecting tubular renal cells. Both V1a and V1b receptors act through the intracellular phosphoinositol signalling pathway, Ca(++) being the second messenger. V2 receptors work through AMPc generation, which promotes aquaporin 2 (AQP2) trafficking and allows water to enter the cell. The vaptans act competitively at the AVP receptor. The most important are mozavaptan, lixivaptan, satavaptan and tolvaptan, all of which are selective V2 antagonists and are administered through the oral route. In contrast, conivaptan is a dual V1 and V2 antagonist administered through the endovenous route. The main characteristics of vaptans are their effect on free water elimination without affecting electrolyte excretion. There are several studies on the effects of these drugs in hypervolemic hyponatremia (heart failure, hepatic cirrhosis) as well as in normovolemic hyponatremia (inappropriate secretion of ADH [SIADH]). Current studies show that the vaptans are effective and well tolerated, although knowledge of these drugs remains limited. There are no studies of the use of vaptans in severe hyponatremia. Osmotic demyelination syndrome due to excessively rapid correction of hyponatremia has not been described.

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