, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 264-270
Date: 27 Apr 2010

Is There a Place on the Shelf for Aliskiren?

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Increased renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) activity contributes to target-organ damage and increases cardiovascular risk by elevating blood pressure (BP) and through direct effects on the heart, kidneys, brain, and vascular endothelium. Pharmacologic blockade of RAAS effectively reduces BP and limits or reverses various forms of target-organ damage, including cardiac heart failure, coronary artery disease, chronic kidney disease, and left ventricular hypertrophy. Direct renin inhibitors selectively inhibit human renin and have a therapeutic potential similar to angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor blockers. Aliskiren is the only orally active direct renin inhibitor that has been approved for the treatment of hypertension and has been shown to have favorable effects on target-organ damage. It effectively reduces BP and has favorable effects on heart failure and proteinuria in diabetic patients. Additional outcome trials are needed to establish the role of this new class of antihypertensive medication in preventing cardiovascular outcomes.