Background: Little is known of the effects of blood pressure reduction by specific classes of antihypertensive drugs on the association between proteinuria reduction and progression of kidney insufficiency and development of end-stage kidney disease in patients with overt diabetic nephropathy in type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Methods: Associations between baseline proteinuria and proteinuria reduction by either irbesartan, amlodipine, or control for similar decrements in blood pressure and the cumulative incidence of renal end points were examined using the Kaplan-Meier method in patients enrolled in the Irbesartan Diabetic Nephropathy Trial.
Results: Risk for kidney failure doubled for each doubling of baseline proteinuria level (hazard ratio, 2.04; 95% confidence interval, 1.87 to 2.22; P < 0.001). For each halving of proteinuria level between baseline and 12 months with treatment, risk for kidney failure was reduced by more than half (hazard ratio, 0.44; 95% confidence interval, 0.40 to 0.49; P < 0.001). For the same proportional change in proteinuria, the reduction in risk for kidney failure was significantly greater for irbesartan compared with amlodipine ( P = 0.048), but not control ( P = 0.245). Proteinuria reduction in the first 12 months of therapy with irbesartan is associated with 36% of the total renoprotective effect observed.
Conclusion: Baseline proteinuria is an important risk factor for kidney failure and provides a means to identify patients at greatest risk. Halving proteinuria halves the kidney risk. Proteinuria reduction using an angiotensin receptor-blocking agent, such as irbesartan, should be regarded as an important therapeutic goal in renoprotective strategies.