Candesartan selectively blocks the binding of angiotensin II to AT1 in many tissues including vascular smooth muscle and the adrenal glands. This inhibits the AT1-mediated vasoconstrictive and aldosterone-secreting effects of angiotensin II and results in an overall decrease in blood pressure. Candesartan is greater than 10, 000 times more selective for AT1 than AT2. Inhibition of aldosterone secretion may increase sodium and water excretion while decreasing potassium excretion.
Candesartan cilexetil is an ARB prodrug that is rapidly converted to candesartan, its active metabolite, during absorption from the gastrointestinal tract. Candesartan confers blood pressure lowering effects by antagonizing the hypertensive effects of angiotensin II via the RAAS. RAAS is a homeostatic mechanism for regulating hemodynamics, water and electrolyte balance. During sympathetic stimulation or when renal blood pressure or blood flow is reduced, renin is released from granular cells of the juxtaglomerular apparatus in the kidneys. Renin cleaves circulating angiotensinogen to angiotensin I, which is cleaved by angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) to angiotensin II. Angiotensin II increases blood pressure by increasing total peripheral resistance, increasing sodium and water reabsorption in the kidneys via aldosterone secretion, and altering cardiovascular structure. Angiotensin II binds to two receptors: type-1 angiotensin II receptor (AT1) and type-2 angiotensin II receptor (AT2). AT1 is a G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) that mediates the vasoconstrictive and aldosterone-secreting effects of angiotensin II. Studies performed in recent years suggest that AT2 antagonizes AT1-mediated effects and directly affects long-term blood pressure control by inducing vasorelaxation and increasing urinary sodium excretion. Angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) are non-peptide competitive inhibitors of AT1. ARBs block the ability of angiotensin II to stimulate pressor and cell proliferative effects. Unlike ACE inhibitors, ARBs do not affect bradykinin-induced vasodilation. The overall effect of ARBs is a decrease in blood pressure.
The prodrug candesartan cilexetil undergoes rapid and complete ester hydrolysis in the intestinal wall to form the active drug, candesartan. Elimination of candesartan is primarily as unchanged drug in the urine and, by the biliary route, in the feces. Minor hepatic metabolism of candesartan (<20%)occurs by O-deethylation via cytochrome P450 2C9 to form an inactive metabolite. Candesartan undergoes N-glucuronidation in the tetrazole ring by uridine diphosphate glucuronosyltransferase 1A3 (UGT1A3). O-glucuronidation may also occur. 75% of candesartan is excreted as unchanged drug in urine and feces.
No lethality was observed in acute toxicity studies in mice, rats and dogs given single oral doses of up to 2000 mg/kg of candesartan cilexetil or in rats given single oral doses of up to 2000 mg/kg of candesartan cilexetil in combination with 1000 mg/kg of hydrochlorothiazide. In mice given single oral doses of the primary metabolite, candesartan, the minimum lethal dose was greater than 1000 mg/kg but less than 2000 mg/kg.