The Consumer’s Guide to Vasopressin Receptor Antagonists for ADPKD

Here’s everything you need to know about the first drug approved to treat the disease process in ADPKD.

F inding out you have autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) can be a life-altering event, even if you haven’t yet experienced any symptoms. One of the most common genetic diseases, ADPKD causes fluid-filled cysts to develop in the kidneys, leading to loss of kidney function over time and eventually, in most cases, kidney failure.

If you or a loved one has ADPKD or there is a history of the disease in your family but you don’t know if you have it, you may be wondering what you can do to help preserve kidney function and avoid dialysis or a kidney transplant — the only treatment options for kidney failure — for as long as possible. Treating and managing ADPKD can involve many approaches, from lifestyle measures such as drinking lots of fluids to controlling your blood pressure with medications.

There is one treatment that directly targets the disease process in ADPKD — in a class of drugs called vasopressin receptor antagonists (VRA) — but it’s not recommended for everyone.

Here’s everything you need to know about VRAs to help you make informed decisions about your ADPKD treatment.

How VRAs Treat ADPKD

VRAs work by blocking the V2 receptor in the kidneys. Vasopressin helps regulate the use of water in the body, including how much water is removed from your blood and excreted in urine.

Vasopressin also plays a critical role in cyst development in people with ADPKD, so blocking this hormone’s activity in your kidneys can significantly slow the growth of cysts and help you maintain kidney function longer than you would otherwise.

8 Essential Facts About VRAs for ADPKD

Is It Time to Try a VRA?

There are several reasons you may want to start taking a VRA for ADPKD — and potential reasons to hold off.

Get the Answers to Common Questions About VRAs for ADPKD

Next Steps: Making Treatment Decisions


Doctor Discussion

Here are some questions about VRAs for ADPKD that you may want to ask your doctor at your next appointment:

  1. Am I a good candidate for tolvaptan?
  2. If so, what can I do to prepare for treatment?
  3. What results should I expect if I start taking tolvaptan?
  4. How often will I need follow-up tests if I start on this medication?
  5. What are the next steps if this treatment doesn’t work out for me?