Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors represent one of the most commonly used categories of drugs in canine and feline medicine. ACE inhibitors currently approved for use in veterinary medicine are benazepril, enalapril, imidapril and ramipril. They are all pro-drugs administered by oral route. A physiologically based model taking into account the saturable binding to ACE has been developed for pharmacokinetic analysis. The bioavailability of the active compounds from their respective pro-drug is low. The active metabolites are eliminated by renal, hepatorenal or biliary excretion, according to the drug. The elimination half-life of the free fraction of the active compounds is very short (ranging from approximately 10 min to 2 h). ACE inhibitors are generally well tolerated. Benazepril, enalapril, imidapril and ramipril are approved for dogs with chronic heart failure (CHF). The efficacy of ACE inhibitors has been convincingly demonstrated in dogs with CHF, especially in those with chronic valvular disease. In such clinical settings, ACE inhibitors improve hemodynamics and clinical signs, and increase survival time. In cats with cardiovascular disease, little information is available except for reports of some benefit in cats with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in two non-controlled investigations. ACE inhibitors have also a mild to moderate hypotensive effect. There is also evidence to recommend ACE inhibitors in dogs and cats with chronic renal failure (CRF). They decrease the glomerular capillary pressure, have antiproteinuric effects, tend to delay the progression of CRF and to limit the extent of renal lesions.
Keywords: Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, cat, dog, heart failure, pharmacokinetics, renal failure, veterinary medicine
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