ACE Inhibitors vs ARBs Mechanism of Action (RAAS) Nursing NCLEX Pharmacology

ACE inhibitors vs ARBs (mechanism of action) nursing review for NCLEX pharmacology.

Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) and angiontensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEI) both work to affect the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS). However, they affect this system in different ways but achieve the same results on the body.

ACE Inhibitors inhibit ACE from converting Angiotensin I to Angiotensin II. While ARBs prevent angiotensin II from binding with angiotensin II type I receptor sites. Both of these mechanisms of action will prevent the role of angiotensin II in the body.

These medications will cause vasodilation of vessels and decrease the release of aldosterone, which will cause the kidneys to excrete sodium and water and keep potassium.

ACEI and ARBs are used to treat hypertension, heart failure, post MIs, and slow the progression of kidney disease in type 2 diabetics (diabetic nephropathy).

ACE Inhibitors can lead to a dry, nagging cough along with angioedema, while this is rare to occur with ARBs.

Nursing considerations for these medications are: educating the patient to avoid foods high in potassium, preventing rebound hypertension, lifestyle changes, monitoring for renal failure in patients who are dependent on the RAAS (severe heart failure) etc.

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ACE inhibitors and ARBs are two classes of medications used in the treatment of hypertension, heart failure, and other cardiovascular conditions. Both ACE inhibitors and ARBs act on the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) to lower blood pressure and improve cardiovascular function.

The RAAS is a complex hormonal system that regulates blood pressure and fluid balance in the body. It involves a series of enzymes, peptides, and receptors that work together to regulate the production and release of aldosterone, a hormone that promotes sodium and water retention in the kidneys. This can lead to increased blood volume and blood pressure.

ACE inhibitors work by inhibiting the action of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE), which is responsible for converting angiotensin I to angiotensin II. Angiotensin II is a potent vasoconstrictor that causes blood vessels to narrow and increases blood pressure. By inhibiting ACE, ACE inhibitors prevent the formation of angiotensin II and promote vasodilation, which lowers blood pressure. ACE inhibitors also reduce the secretion of aldosterone, which can help to decrease fluid retention in the body.

ARBs, on the other hand, work by blocking the action of angiotensin II at the receptor level. This prevents angiotensin II from binding to its receptors and causing vasoconstriction, which leads to vasodilation and a decrease in blood pressure. ARBs also reduce the secretion of aldosterone, which can help to decrease fluid retention in the body.

While both ACE inhibitors and ARBs have similar mechanisms of action, there are some differences between the two classes of medications. For example, ACE inhibitors are generally considered to be more effective at reducing proteinuria (excess protein in the urine), while ARBs are better tolerated by patients and have fewer side effects. Additionally, ACE inhibitors are contraindicated in patients with a history of angioedema (a severe allergic reaction), while ARBs may be a safer alternative in these patients.

Overall, understanding the mechanisms of action of ACE inhibitors and ARBs is an important part of nursing pharmacology, particularly for nurses who work with patients who have hypertension or other cardiovascular conditions. By understanding how these medications work, nurses can help to ensure the safe and effective use of these drugs in their patients.


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