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What is Tekturna (Aliskiren)? (Part 2)

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In part 1, I introduced aliskiren and discussed the renin-angiontensin-aldosterone system. As I mentioned, there are innumerable medications already available that effect this system, leading to the question: what's so special about aliskiren?

(Diagram reproduced under the GNU Free Documentation License.)

Aliskiren is a direct renin inhibitor. Currently, all other agents that inhibit the renin-angiotensin-aldsterone system (like ACE inhbitors and angiotensin receptor blockers) increase the levels of renin (through feedback mechanisms). This increased renin can potentially reduce the effectiveness of theese medications. Aliskiren, in contrast, reduces the activity of renin and has the potential to blunt the effects of the increased renin levels caused by other agents.

For lowering blood pressure, aliskiren is indicated as a single agent and in combination with other agents that affect the renin-angiontensin-aldosterone system. The blood pressure reductions with the combination of aliskiren and other medications, in some studies, are greater than the reductions with either agent alone.

In addition, medications that block the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system are particularly important in patients with kidney disease and heart failure. For patients with kidney disease and protein in the urine, medications like ACE inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers have been shown to protect the kidneys and prevent or delay progression of kidney disease. For patients with heart failure, these medications can improve symptoms and reduce mortality.

Whether aliskiren alone or added to other medications is effective and may provide additional protection is unknown.

Studies on aliskiren in patients with heart and kidney disease are ongoing.

For a full description of aliskiren, including potential side effects, see www.tekturna.com.
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About the Author


MD, FACP, FASN

Dr. Schwimmer's blog explores the intersection of medicine, new technologies, and the Internet.

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