Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 and Antihypertensives (Angiotensin Receptor Blockers and Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors) in Coronavirus Disease 2019

Mayo Clin Proc. 2020 Jun;95(6):1222-1230. doi: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2020.03.026. Epub 2020 Apr 4.


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, is being defined as the worst pandemic disease of modern times. Several professional health organizations have published position papers stating that there is no evidence to change the use of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs) or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) in the management of elevated blood pressure in the context of avoiding or treating COVID-19 infection. In this article, we review the evidence on the relationship between the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system and COVID-19 infection. In agreement with current guidelines, patients with hypertension should continue taking antihypertensive medications as prescribed without interruption. Because ACEIs and ARBs are also used to retard the progression of chronic kidney disease, we suggest that these recommendations also apply to the use of these agents in chronic kidney disease. No differences generally exist between ARBs and ACEIs in terms of efficacy in decreasing blood pressure and improving other outcomes, such as all-cause mortality, cardiovascular mortality, myocardial infarction, heart failure, stroke, and end-stage renal disease. The ACEIs are associated with cough secondary to accumulation of bradykinin and angioedema, and withdrawal rates due to adverse events are lower with ARBs. Given their equal efficacy but fewer adverse events, ARBs could potentially be a more favorable treatment option in patients with COVID-19 at higher risk for severe forms of disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angiotensin Receptor Antagonists / pharmacology*
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Betacoronavirus / isolation & purification
  • COVID-19
  • Comorbidity
  • Coronavirus Infections* / epidemiology
  • Coronavirus Infections* / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hypertension* / drug therapy
  • Hypertension* / epidemiology
  • Hypertension* / metabolism
  • Pandemics*
  • Patient Selection
  • Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A / metabolism*
  • Pneumonia, Viral* / epidemiology
  • Pneumonia, Viral* / metabolism
  • Renin-Angiotensin System / drug effects*
  • SARS-CoV-2


  • Angiotensin Receptor Antagonists
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A
  • ACE2 protein, human
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2