Drugs & Aging

, Volume 9, Issue 6, pp 449–457 | Cite as

Chemoprophylaxis of Diabetic Nephropathy in the Elderly

  • Eckart Jungmann
Review Article Drug Therapy


Renal disease in elderly diabetic patients is costly in terms of morbidity, mortality and medical payments. Therefore, prevention of diabetic nephropathy has become a prominent goal in the treatment of diabetic patients. Preventive treatment should begin not later than at the stage of persistent microalbuminuria, and regular screening for microalbuminuria is recommended for both elderly and younger diabetic patients.

Improved metabolic control, through diet and hypoglycaemic therapy, has been demonstrated to lower urinary albumin excretion. The target level of glycated haemoglobin is <8%, or <2% higher than the upper limit of normal in nondiabetic people. Insulin therapy has no adverse effects on renal indices, unless it increases bodyweight and consequently raises blood pressure.

To preserve renal function in elderly diabetic patients, blood pressure should be kept well below 140/90mm Hg. Treatment with ACE inhibitors may be the ‘gold standard’ intervention, and should be initiated at the lowest possible dosage and then titrated until the maximum tolerated dosage has been reached. Nonchronotropic calcium antagonists have been shown to be as effective as ACE inhibitors with regard to their effects on blood pressure, renal haemodynamics and urinary albumin excretion. Most dihydropyridines have been found to increase or to have no effect on urinary albumin excretion despite significant blood pressure reduction.

A renoprotective action of diuretics is generally unlikely, with the possible exception of indapamide. Although β-blockers are effective antihypertensive agents, they may not adequately preserve kidney function in diabetic patients. Because β-blocker treatment may mask the symptoms of hypoglycaemia, they should be reserved for patients with coronary artery disease or arrhythmias.


Diabetic Nephropathy Calcium Antagonist Urinary Albumin Urinary Albumin Excretion Nitrendipine 
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Copyright information

© Adis International Limited 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eckart Jungmann
    • 1
  1. 1.Endocrine and Diabetes UnitSt Vincent’s Hospital WiedenbrückRheda-WiedenbrückGermany

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