Angioedema is a rare, potentially life-threatening adverse event of renin-angiotensin system inhibitors. The objective of the present study was to determine the risk of angioedema from randomized clinical trials. A PubMed/CENTRAL/EMBASE search was made for randomized clinical trials from 1980 to October 2011 in patients on angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), or direct renin inhibitor (DRI). Trials with a total number of patients ≥100 and a duration of ≥8 weeks were included for analysis. Incidence of angioedema was pooled by weighing the incident rate of each trial by the inverse of the variance. Twenty-six trials with 74,857 patients in the ACE inhibitor arm with 232,523 person-years of follow-up, 19 trials with 35,479 patients on ARB with 122,293 person-years of follow-up, and 2 trials with 5,141 patients on DRI with 1,735 person-years of follow-up met the inclusion criteria and were included in the analysis. In head-to-head comparison in 7 trials, risk of angioedema with ACE inhibitors was 2.2 times higher than with ARBs (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.5 to 3.3). With ACE inhibitors and ARBs, incidence of angioedema was higher in heart failure trials compared to hypertension or coronary artery disease trials without heart failure (p <0.0001). Weighted incidence of angioedema with ACE inhibitors was 0.30% (95% CI 0.28 to 0.32) compared to 0.11% (95% CI 0.09 to 0.13) with ARBs, 0.13% (95% CI 0.08 to 0.19) with DRIs, and 0.07% with placebo (95% CI 0.05 to 0.09). In conclusion, incidence of angioedema with ARBs and DRI was <1/2 than that with ACE inhibitors and not significantly different from placebo. Incidence of angioedema was higher in patients with heart failure compared to those without heart failure with ACE inhibitors and ARBs.
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