ARB Angioedema

Do you know what is ARB angioedema and what it the connection between these two? If you do not, this article will give you the answer. But before going into the details, let me warn you if you are in the middle of angioedema treatment, stay away from ARBs.

For better understanding of ARB angioedema, let me define the two terms separately for you:

ARB stands for angiotensin II receptor antagonists or angiotensin receptor blockers. ARBS are also called AT1-receptor antagonists andsartans. Actually they are a specific cluster of pharmaceuticals which transform the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system. This cluster of pharmaceuticals is mainly used for normalizing diabetic nephropathy, high blood pressure and in some cases for congestive heart failure.

Now let us come to angioedema. Angioedema, also called quincke's edema, is an allergic reaction that occurs mostly on the eyes and lips. Actually, it is the rapid swelling of the human skin resulted by the swelling of dermis, mucosa and submucosal tissues. Usually the swelling lasts a few hours and does not threaten the life of the patient. However, if the swelling progresses rapidly it can block the airway and cause suffocation hence, should be treated as a medical emergency.

The most common and obvious symptom is swelling, which can develop abruptly on the eyes, lips, tongue and throat. However, it is not limited to these areas only, and any other part of the body can also be affected e.g. hands and feet. The swelling may result in a burning sensation and pain. Urticaria (hives) may also develop along with it. Sometimes the patient may also feel difficulty in breathing.

The major problem of using any member of ARB class is the avoidance of dry angioedema and cough which are usually associated with therapy of ACE inhibitor. However, a constant intake of ARBs can result in side-effects including dry cough and/or angioedema. Furthermore, a patient with a history of angioedema with ACE inhibitor therapy has the risk of cross reactivity.


P.S. (from Dr. Gary M. Levin, M.D. & Surgeon)
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