Diabetic nephropathy medical therapy
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The goals of treatment are to slow the progression of kidney damage and control related complications. The main treatment, once proteinuria is established, is ACE inhibitor drugs, which usually reduce glomerular hypertension, proteinuria levels, systemic hypertension and slow the progression of diabetic nephropathy.
Medical treatment in diabetic nephropathy is aimed at slowing the progression of albuminuria. Interventions include
- Improved glycemic control
- Strict control of blood pressure
- Treatment of dyslipidemia
- Angtiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor (ACEI)
- Preffered regimen no1. Enalapril: 2.5-5 mg once or twice daily, PO, increased up to 40 mg/day every 1-2 weeks in 2.5 mg intervals.
- IV : 1.25 mg/dose every 6 hours
- Preffered regimen no 2: Lisinopril: PO, Initial 10 mg daily (no diuretic) or 5 mg daily (if on diuretic). dose range: 10-40 mg daily.
- Angiotensin receptor blocker (ARBs).
- Preffered regimen :Losartan PO 50 mg once daily, dose can be increased to 100 mg once daily based on blood pressure response.
The management of diabetic nephropathy depends a lot on lifestyle and dietary modifications.These include:
- Weight loss
- Smoking cessation
- Reduction of salt and alcohol intake
- Limiting protein intake to less than 0.8 g per kg per day
- Glycemic control is effective in reducing the microvascular complications of diabetes mellitus, as well as lowering the incidence of microalbuminuria and macroalbuminuria. In general, an HbA1c of less than 7.0% is considered adequate glycemic control.
- However, very tight glycemic control (i.e: HbA1c levels of less than 6.0% is associated with an increased mortality and cardiovascular disease. Anti-diabetic drugs and injectable insulin analogs should be used to maintain normoglycemia.
- While a strict glycemic control reduces the rate at which microalbuminura appears and progress in patients with both type I and type II diabetes mellitus, it is debatable as to whether or not an improved blood glucose control halts the progression of renal disease once microalbuminuria is present.
- PPAR-ɣ inhibitors, such as pioglitazone and rosiglitazone have anti-fibrotic and anti-inflammatory effects
- Starting dosage: 4 mg PO qd or bid
- For patients who respond inadequately following 8 to 12 weeks of treatment, as determined by reduction in fasting plasma glucose (FPG), the dose may be increased to 8 mg daily. Increases in the dose of rosiglitazone should be accompanied by careful monitoring for adverse events related to fluid retention. Rosiglitazone may be taken with or without food.
- DPP-4 inhibitors, such as sitagliptin has anti-inflammatory and anti-apoptotic properties. When sitagliptin is used for 6 months in patients with type II DM, it reduces the rate of albuminuria in these patients.
- SGLT-2 inhibitors decrease the rate of hyperfiltration by exerting an effect on tubuloglomerular feedback.
- Drugs such as metformin and sulfonylureas are contraindicated in advanced renal insufficiency.
Blood Pressure Control
- ACE inhibitors and ARB's are the drug of choice for controlling hypertension in diabetic nephropathy. Aggressive treatment of hypertension is found to retard the progression of damage to nephrons secondary to diabetes. Some advantages include:
- ACEI and ARBs should not be combined due to increased risk of hyperkalemia and acute kidney injury (AKI).
- Aldosterone antagonists: found to decrease blood pressure as well as proteinuria, whether used alone or in combination with an ACEI/ARB. However, when used in combination with the other drugs, patients should be monitored for hyperkalemia.
- Other drugs, such as beta blockers, calcium channel blockers and diuretics may be added if blood pressure is not well controlled.
- The use of statins decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease and slows the loss of renal function.
- For diabetic patients over the age of 40 with diabetic nephropathy, statins are recommended regardless of baseline lipid levels.
- Dialysis may be necessary once end-stage renal disease develops.
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