Clinical pharmacokinetics of losartan

Clin Pharmacokinet. 2005;44(8):797-814. doi: 10.2165/00003088-200544080-00003.


Losartan is the first orally available angiotensin-receptor antagonist without agonist properties. Following oral administration, losartan is rapidly absorbed, reaching maximum concentrations 1-2 hours post-administration. After oral administration approximately 14% of a losartan dose is converted to the pharmacologically active E 3174 metabolite. E 3174 is 10- to 40-fold more potent than its parent compound and its estimated terminal half-life ranges from 6 to 9 hours. The pharmacokinetics of losartan and E 3174 are linear, dose-proportional and do not substantially change with repetitive administration. The recommended dosage of losartan 50 mg/day can be administered without regard to food. There are no clinically significant effects of age, sex or race on the pharmacokinetics of losartan, and no dosage adjustment is necessary in patients with mild hepatic impairment or various degrees of renal insufficiency. Losartan, or its E 3174 metabolite, is not removed during haemodialysis. The major metabolic pathway for losartan is by the cytochrome P450 (CYP) 3A4, 2C9 and 2C10 isoenzymes. Overall, losartan has a favorable drug-drug interaction profile, as evidenced by the lack of clinically relevant interactions between this drug and a range of inhibitors and stimulators of the CYP450 system. Losartan does not have a drug-drug interaction with hydrochlorothiazide, warfarin or digoxin. Losartan should be avoided in pregnancy, as is the case with all other angiotensin-receptor antagonists. When given in the second and third trimester of pregnancy, losartan is often associated with serious fetal toxicity. Losartan is a competitive antagonist that causes a parallel rightward shift of the concentration-contractile response curve to angiotensin-II, while E 3174 is a noncompetitive "insurmountable" antagonist of angiotensin-II. The maximum recommended daily dose of losartan is 100mg, which can be given as a once-daily dose or by splitting the same total daily dose into two doses. Losartan reduces blood pressure comparably to other angiotensin-receptor antagonists. Losartan has been extensively studied relative to end-organ protection, with studies having been conducted in diabetic nephropathy, heart failure, post-myocardial infarction and hypertensive patients with left ventricular hypertrophy. The results of these studies have been sufficiently positive to support a more widespread use of angiotensin-receptor antagonists in the setting of various end-organ diseases. Losartan, like other angiotensin-receptor antagonists, is devoid of significant adverse effects.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angiotensin II Type 1 Receptor Blockers / adverse effects
  • Angiotensin II Type 1 Receptor Blockers / pharmacokinetics*
  • Angiotensin II Type 1 Receptor Blockers / pharmacology
  • Antihypertensive Agents / adverse effects
  • Antihypertensive Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Antihypertensive Agents / pharmacology
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / drug therapy
  • Losartan / adverse effects
  • Losartan / pharmacokinetics*
  • Losartan / pharmacology
  • Prodrugs / adverse effects
  • Prodrugs / pharmacokinetics*
  • Prodrugs / pharmacology
  • Stroke / prevention & control


  • Angiotensin II Type 1 Receptor Blockers
  • Antihypertensive Agents
  • Prodrugs
  • Losartan