Pharmacogenomics of Antihypertensive Treatment & Clinical Pharmacological Studies of Digoxin Treatment

Abstract: In Part I we found that the CYP2C9 genotype appears to influence the diastolic blood pressure response to the angiotensin II-receptor antagonist irbesartan in patients with hypertension and left ventricular hypertrophy. Those with the '1/'2 genotype (slower metabolism) responded better than those with the '1/'1 genotype (normal metabolism), likely due to a slower elimination of the drug. We further found that a +9/-9 exon 1 polymorphism of the B2 bradykinin receptor gene – shown to affect mRNA expression - appears to influence the regression of left ventricular mass during therapy with irbesartan or the beta-blocker atenolol in the same patients. Subjects with the -9/-9 genotype (higher mRNA expression) had a greater regression than carriers of the +9 allele. In Part II we found that women on digoxin therapeutic drug monitoring have higher serum digoxin concentrations (SDCs) as compared to men (1.54±0.04 [nmol/L±SE] vs 1.20±0.05 [nmol/L±SE], p<0.001), which could be of importance since an SDC >1.4 nmol/L has been associated with increased mortality. We further found that coadministration of P-glycoprotein inhibitors with digoxin was common (47%) among the same patients, and that the SDC increased in a stepwise fashion with the number of P-glycoprotein inhibitors (20-60%). Lastly, we found that patients admitted to Swedish coronary care units with atrial fibrillation without heart failure and who had been given digoxin had a higher 1-year mortality than those not given digoxin (RR 1.44 [95% CI 1.29-1.60], adjustment made for potential confounders). In conclusion, Part I represents a further step in the pharmacogenomic prospect of tailoring antihypertensive therapy. Part II indicates that heightened attention to the digoxin-dose is warranted in women, that there is a need for awareness about P-glycoprotein interactions with digoxin, and that long-term therapy with digoxin is an independent risk factor for death among patients with atrial fibrillation without heart failure.