Aliskiren Helps Control Mild-to-Moderate Hypertension

Renin inhibitor appears safe and effective in reducing sitting blood pressure after two-month treatment

WEDNESDAY, March 14 (HealthDay News) -- The oral renin inhibitor aliskiren helps control blood pressure in patients with mild-to-moderate hypertension, according to results from a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial reported in the March 20 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

In order to evaluate the antihypertensive efficacy and tolerability of aliskiren in patients with hypertension, Deborah Keefe, M.D., from Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation in East Hanover, N.J., and colleagues randomized 672 patients with a mean sitting diastolic blood pressure of 95 mm Hg to 109 mm Hg to once-daily doses of aliskiren at 150, 300 or 600 mg, or a placebo for eight weeks.

Aliskiren reduced mean sitting blood pressure (systolic/diastolic) from 13/10.3 mm Hg at the 150-mg dose to 15.8/12.5 mm Hg for the 600-mg dose, compared to 3.8/4.9 mm Hg with placebo. The reduction in blood pressure was maintained during a two-week withdrawal period. Adverse event rates in the aliskiren group ranged from 40.1 to 52.4 percent compared to 43 percent for placebo.

"Although the arrival of a new drug class such as the renin inhibitors is exciting and should be welcomed, its exact place in the antihypertensive arsenal will depend on extensive documentation of efficacy and safety," write Franz Messerli, M.D., of St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital in New York City, and a colleague in an accompanying editorial.

The original study was supported by Novartis and two other authors besides Keefe are employees of the company. Messerli and colleague have multiple pharmaceutical company affiliations.

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