Background: In a previous trial involving patients with early autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD; estimated creatinine clearance, ≥60 ml per minute), the vasopressin V2-receptor antagonist tolvaptan slowed the growth in total kidney volume and the decline in the estimated glomerular filtration rate (GFR) but also caused more elevations in aminotransferase and bilirubin levels. The efficacy and safety of tolvaptan in patients with later-stage ADPKD are unknown.
Methods: We conducted a phase 3, randomized withdrawal, multicenter, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial. After an 8-week prerandomization period that included sequential placebo and tolvaptan run-in phases, during which each patient's ability to take tolvaptan without dose-limiting side effects was assessed, 1370 patients with ADPKD who were either 18 to 55 years of age with an estimated GFR of 25 to 65 ml per minute per 1.73 m2 of body-surface area or 56 to 65 years of age with an estimated GFR of 25 to 44 ml per minute per 1.73 m2 were randomly assigned in a 1:1 ratio to receive tolvaptan or placebo for 12 months. The primary end point was the change in the estimated GFR from baseline to follow-up, with adjustment for the exact duration that each patient participated (interpolated to 1 year). Safety assessments were conducted monthly.
Results: The change from baseline in the estimated GFR was -2.34 ml per minute per 1.73 m2 (95% confidence interval [CI], -2.81 to -1.87) in the tolvaptan group, as compared with -3.61 ml per minute per 1.73 m2 (95% CI, -4.08 to -3.14) in the placebo group (difference, 1.27 ml per minute per 1.73 m2; 95% CI, 0.86 to 1.68; P<0.001). Elevations in the alanine aminotransferase level (to >3 times the upper limit of the normal range) occurred in 38 of 681 patients (5.6%) in the tolvaptan group and in 8 of 685 (1.2%) in the placebo group. Elevations in the aminotransferase level were reversible after stopping tolvaptan. No elevations in the bilirubin level of more than twice the upper limit of the normal range were detected.
Conclusions: Tolvaptan resulted in a slower decline than placebo in the estimated GFR over a 1-year period in patients with later-stage ADPKD. (Funded by Otsuka Pharmaceuticals and Otsuka Pharmaceutical Development and Commercialization; REPRISE ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02160145 .).