New Therapy UpdateAzilsartan: A Newly Approved Angiotensin II Receptor BlockerLam, Sum PharmDAuthor Information From the Department of Clinical Pharmacy Practice, College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions, St. John's University, Queens, NY; and Divisions of Geriatric Medicine and Pharmacy, Winthrop University Hospital, Mineola, NY. Disclosure: The author is a Consultant for GlaxoSmithKline, and a Speaker bureau Boehringer Ingelheim. Correspondence: Sum Lam, PharmD, Department of Clinical Pharmacy Practice, College of Pharmacy & Allied Health Professions, St. John's University, St. Albert's Hall Room 114, 8000 Utopia Parkway, Queens, NY 11439. E-mail: Lams1@stjohns.edu. Cardiology in Review: November-December 2011 - Volume 19 - Issue 6 - p 300-304 doi: 10.1097/CRD.0b013e31822e9ba3 Buy Metrics Abstract Hypertension is a common chronic disease that leads to significant cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Blood pressure control is essential to prevent end-organ complications, such as stroke, myocardial infarction, heart failure, or kidney disease. Azilsartan is the eighth angiotensin II receptor blocker approved for the management of hypertension, alone or in combination with other agents. At the approved dosage, it reduces systolic blood pressure by 12 to 15 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by 7 to 8 mm Hg. A higher dose of azilsartan (80 mg) was superior to valsartan 320 mg or olmesartan 40 mg in lowering systolic blood pressure in short-term studies. Additional blood pressure reduction is expected when azilsartan is used adjunctively with a diuretic. However, the effects of azilsartan on cardiovascular morbidity or mortality are still lacking. Azilsartan is well tolerated; the most common side effects are headache and diarrhea. No cases of hyperkalemia have been reported in 6-week clinical trials. Worsening of renal function and hypotension should be monitored, particularly in those with baseline risk factors. It is unknown whether azilsartan would join angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and other angiotensin receptor blockers as the preferred hypertensive agents for end-organ protection. At this time, azilsartan should be considered as an alternative agent for mild-to-moderate hypertension, or as an adjunctive therapy when preferred agents fail to maintain optimal blood pressure control. It is also an option for those patients who have contraindications or cannot tolerate other antihypertensive agents, including dry cough induced by angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors. © 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.