Background/aims: Olmesartan, a widely used angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB), has been linked to sprue-like enteropathy. No cases of olmesartan-associated enteropathy have been reported in Northeast Asia. We investigated the associations between olmesartan and other ARBs and the incidence of enteropathy in Korea.
Methods: Our retrospective cohort study used data from the Korean National Health Insurance Service to identify 108,559 patients (58,186 females) who were initiated on angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEis), olmesartan, or other ARBs between January 2005 and December 2012. The incidences of enteropathy were compared among drug groups. Changes in body weight were compared after propensity score matching of patients in the ACEis and olmesartan groups.
Results: Among 108,559 patients, 31 patients were diagnosed with enteropathy. The incidences were 0.73, 0.24, and 0.37 per 1,000 persons, in the ACEis, olmesartan, and other ARBs groups, respectively. Adjusted rate ratios for enteropathy were: olmesartan, 0.33 (95% confidential interval [CI], 0.10 to 1.09; p = 0.070) and other ARBs, 0.34 (95% CI, 0.14 to 0.83; p = 0.017) compared to the ACEis group after adjustment for age, sex, income level, and various comorbidities. The post hoc analysis with matched cohorts revealed that the proportion of patients with significant weight loss did not differ between the ACEis and olmesartan groups.
Conclusion: Olmesartan was not associated with intestinal malabsorption or significant body weight loss in the general Korean population. Additional large-scale prospective studies of the relationship between olmesartan and the incidence of enteropathy in the Asian population are needed.
Keywords: Angiotensin receptor antagonists; Drug-related side effects and adverse reactions; Insurance claim review; Intestinal diseases; Olmesartan.