Renin–angiotensin system inhibitors are recommended for treating hypertension with chronic kidney disease. The addition of a mineralocorticoid receptor blocker may be one option to achieve target blood pressure. We investigated the efficacy and safety of esaxerenone, a mineralocorticoid receptor blocker, in Japanese hypertensive patients with moderate kidney dysfunction. Two multicenter, open-label, nonrandomized dose escalation studies were conducted to investigate esaxerenone monotherapy and add-on therapy to renin–angiotensin system inhibitor treatment. Esaxerenone therapy was initiated at 1.25 mg/day and titrated to 2.5 and then 5 mg/day for a treatment duration of 12 weeks. Primary endpoints were changes from baseline in sitting systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Safety, pharmacokinetics, and urinary albumin-to-creatinine ratios were also assessed. Thirty-three patients received monotherapy, and 58 received add-on therapy; the mean baseline estimated glomerular filtration rates were 51.9 and 50.9 mL/min/1.73 m2, respectively. The esaxerenone dosage was increased to ≥2.5 mg/day in 100% (n = 33) and 93.1% (n = 54) of patients receiving monotherapy and add-on therapy, respectively. Reductions in sitting blood pressure from baseline to the end of treatment were similar (monotherapy: −18.5/−8.8 mmHg; add-on therapy: −17.8/−8.1 mmHg; both P < 0.001). The antihypertensive effects of esaxerenone were consistent across patient subgroups. A serum K+ level ≥5.5 mEq/L was observed in seven patients (12.1%) receiving add-on therapy but in none receiving monotherapy. All increases in serum K+ levels were transient, and no patient met predefined serum K+ level criteria for dose reduction or therapy discontinuation. No patient discontinued treatment owing to kidney function decline. Esaxerenone was effective and well tolerated in hypertensive patients with moderate kidney dysfunction.
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