Aliskiren: new drug. Arterial hypertension: no evidence of clinical efficacy.Prescrire Int. 2008 Apr; 17(94):47-50.PI
(1) Pharmacological management of arterial hypertension is based on antihypertensive drugs with proven efficacy on morbidity and/or mortality endpoints. (2) Aliskiren is the first renin inhibitor to reach the market. (3) There are no published trials of aliskiren with clinical endpoints. Five double-blind short-term (8 weeks) placebo-controlled trials showed a moderate effect on blood pressure. This effect was not superior to that of other antihypertensive drugs with which aliskiren was compared: hydrochlorothiazide, amlodipine, irbesartan, losartan, valsartan, lisinopril and rampiril. (4) When added to another antihypertensive drug, aliskiren had little or no additional effect on blood pressure. In particular, there is no firm evidence that adding aliskiren to amlodipine 5 mg/day is any more effective than doubling the dose of amlodipine. (5) Aliskiren has not been tested in patients with renovascular hypertension or severe hypertension, but pharmacological data suggest that aliskiren might be less effective in these individuals. (6) Overall, the adverse effect profile of aliskiren does not seem to be any better than that of other antihypertensive drugs. Aliskiren contributes to the onset of angioedema, cough, diarrhea and abdominal pain, hyperuricaemia, gout attacks, kidney stones and skin rash. Pharmacovigilance should focus specifically on certain adverse effects that are known to occur with other drugs acting on renin-angiotensin axis, such as angioedema, muscle disorders and anaemia, even though few such cases were observed with aliskiren during clinical trials. (7) Aliskiren is contraindicated during pregnancy, as are other antihypertensive drugs acting on the renin-angiotensin axis. (8) In practice, it is better not to use aliskiren to treat hypertensive patients because better-assessed antihypertensive drugs with longer follow-up are available.