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Direct Renin Inhibitors for High Blood Pressure

Examples

Generic Name Brand Name
aliskiren Tekturna

How It Works

Direct renin inhibitors block the enzyme renin from triggering a process that helps regulate blood pressure. As a result, blood vessels relax and widen, making it easier for blood to flow through the vessels, which lowers blood pressure.

Direct renin inhibitors, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, and angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) all target the same process that narrows blood vessels. But each type of medicine blocks a different part of the process.

Why It Is Used

Direct renin inhibitors are used to lower high blood pressure.1

How Well It Works

Direct renin inhibitors can lower blood pressure.2

Side Effects

All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.

Here are some important things to think about:

  • Usually the benefits of the medicine are more important than any minor side effects.
  • Side effects may go away after you take the medicine for a while.
  • If side effects still bother you and you wonder if you should keep taking the medicine, call your doctor. He or she may be able to lower your dose or change your medicine. Do not suddenly quit taking your medicine unless your doctor tells you to.

Call 911 or other emergency services right away if you have:

  • Trouble breathing.
  • Swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor if you have:

  • Hives.

Common side effects of this medicine include:

  • Dizziness.
  • Headache.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Stuffy nose.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

Direct renin inhibitors are a newer type of medicine for high blood pressure. So doctors don't know about safety after a long time or how well they work after a long time.

Before you take a direct renin inhibitor, tell your doctor about any other medicines you take and any other health problems you have.

For tips on taking blood pressure medicine, see:

Click here to view an Actionset.High Blood Pressure: Taking Medicines Properly.

Taking medicine

Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.

There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.

Advice for women

Do not use this medicine if you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant. If you need to use this medicine, talk to your doctor about how you can prevent pregnancy.

Checkups

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

Complete the new medication information form (PDF)new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.

References

Citations

  1. Drugs for hypertension (2012). Treatment Guidelines From The Medical Letter, 10(113): 1–10.
  2. Aliskiren/valsartan (Valturna) for hypertension (2009). Medical Letter On Drugs and Therapeutics, 51(1326): 94–95.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD - Cardiology
Current as of March 12, 2014

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

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