Amlodipine, enalapril, and dependent leg edema in essential hypertension

Hypertension. 2000 Feb;35(2):621-5. doi: 10.1161/01.hyp.35.2.621.


Calcium channel blockers (CCBs) blunt postural skin vasoconstriction, an autoregulatory mechanism that minimizes gravitational increases in capillary pressure and avoids fluid extravasation when standing. To evaluate the dose-response relation between this pharmacological interference and dependent edema, a frequent side effect of CCBs during antihypertensive treatment, skin blood flow (laser Doppler flowmetry) at the dorsum of the foot, both supine and with the limb passively placed 50 cm below the heart level, and leg weight (Archimedes principle) were measured at baseline, during increasing doses of the dihydropyridine amlodipine (5 and 10 mg UID each for 2 weeks), and after drug withdrawal in 10 hypertensive men. Because angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors may attenuate ankle swelling by CCBs, those parameters were evaluated according to a similar design during amlodipine (10 mg UID) and enalapril (20 mg UID) combined (n=10). As a control, the effect of enalapril monotherapy (10 and 20 mg UID for 2 weeks each) was evaluated in a third series of patients (n=8). Amlodipine (5 mg UID) increased leg weight without modifying postural vasoconstriction (the percent skin blood flow decrease from horizontal to dependent position), which indicates that extravascular fluid shift was independent of postural skin vasoconstriction. At 10 mg UID, however, amlodipine blunted postural vasoconstriction and increased leg weight further, which suggests that skin blood flow autoregulation limited additional fluid transfer. Both parameters normalized after drug withdrawal. Enalapril per se did not affect cutaneous vasomotion or leg weight but reduced the amount of dependent fluid extravasation by the CCB despite a persistent antagonism for postural vasoconstrictor responses.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Amlodipine / adverse effects
  • Amlodipine / therapeutic use*
  • Antihypertensive Agents / adverse effects
  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Diastole
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Edema / chemically induced
  • Edema / pathology*
  • Enalapril / adverse effects
  • Enalapril / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / drug therapy*
  • Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Laser-Doppler Flowmetry
  • Leg* / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Regional Blood Flow / drug effects
  • Skin / blood supply
  • Skin / drug effects
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Systole
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antihypertensive Agents
  • Amlodipine
  • Enalapril