No treatment until now has directly targeted the mechanisms responsible for the development and growth of cysts in autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD). Strong rationale and preclinical studies using in vitro and in vivo models justified the launching of two large phase 3 clinical trials of tolvaptan in early and later stages of ADPKD. Their design was based on preliminary studies informing on the pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, short-term safety and self-reported tolerability in patients with ADPKD. Tolvaptan slowed kidney growth in the early stage and estimated glomerular filtration rate decline in early and later stages of the disease. All participants had the opportunity to enroll in open-label extension trials to ascertain long-term safety and efficacy. In a single-center analysis of long-term outcomes, the effect of tolvaptan was sustained and cumulative over time supporting a disease-modifying effect of tolvaptan in ADPKD. In the countries where tolvaptan has been approved by regulatory agencies, patients with rapidly progressive ADPKD should be informed about the option of treatment including possible benefits and risks. If a decision to initiate treatment is made, prescribing physicians should educate the patients on the prevention of aquaresis-related adverse events and should be vigilant in the surveillance and management of the potential tolvaptan hepatotoxicity. Other vasopressin V2 receptor antagonists, possibly without potential hepatotoxicity, alternative strategies targeting vasopressin and combination with other drugs able to enhance the efficacy or reduce the aquaresis associated with tolvaptan, deserve further study.
- autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease
- chronic kidney disease
- polycystic kidney disease
- total kidney volume
- vasopressin V2 receptor
- vasopressin V2 receptor antagonist
ASJC Scopus subject areas