Angiotensin-converting Enzyme Inhibitors as Inducers of Adverse Cutaneous Reactions
Since adverse effects due to angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors frequently occur in cutaneous locations, this review summarizes the spectrum of expected and unexpected adverse effects of these drugs, possible associated mechanisms, and their basic functions for dermatologists. ACE inhibitors block the activity of the metalloproteinase ACE by binding to its active site, thus displacing angiotensin I and preventing its conversion to vasopressive angiotensin II. Furthermore, ACE degrades bradykinin, substance P, enkephalins and some of the reproductive peptide hormones. The overall incidence of adverse effects to ACE inhibitors is estimated at 28%, approximately half of which occurs in the skin. General reactions are first-dose hypotension, hyperkalaemia and renal failure. Cutaneous reactions comprise life-threatening angioedema, pruritus, bullous eruptions, urticaria, other generalized rashes, photosensitivity and hair loss. ACE inhibitors thus mimic a broad variety of skin diseases, why these drugs should be thought of when sudden, unexplainable skin eruptions are observed.