Aliskiren (Oral)

Aliskiren belongs to a class of drugs known as renin inhibitors; it works by obstructing enzymes responsible for causing blood vessels to constrict.

Overview

Aliskiren is administered alone or in combination with other drugs to treat hypertension (high blood pressure). High blood pressure is known to overburden the heart and arteries. If high blood pressure persists for too long, then the heart and arteries may get damaged and stop functioning normally. This damages the major blood vessels leading to the heart, brain and kidney thus causing stroke, heart failure and in some cases kidney failure. Lowering blood pressure is the solution to reducing the risk of heart failure or stroke.

Aliskiren is essentially a renin inhibitor. It simply works by obstructing the enzymes that cause blood vessels to constrict or tighten. When this medication is taken, blood vessels relax and blood pressure is lowered. The quantity of blood and oxygen flowing to the heart increases when blood pressure is decreased. This medicine can also be used treat other conditions not mentioned here.

In addition to treating high blood pressure with this medication, doctors recommend that you make serious lifestyle changes in order to effectively manage your blood pressure. These adjustments include eating healthy food that's low in fat and salt, exercising daily for at least 30 minutes, not smoking tobacco and using alcoholic drinks moderately. This medication can only be prescribed by a doctor.

Conditions treated:

  • High blood pressure (hypertension)

Type of medicine:

  • Renin inhibitor

Side Effects

Aliskiren helps to lower the blood pressure of patients. But along with the desired effects, the medicine may cause several side effects. However, not all side effects occur on each and every patient, as each person may interact with the medicine differently. Some of the unwanted effects caused by Aliskiren might require medical attention. It is recommended that you consult your physician if any of these side effects appear while using Aliskiren.

Less Common

  • body pain or aches
  • chills
  • diarrhea
  • cough
  • ear congestion
  • fever
  • headache
  • nasal congestion
  • loss of voice
  • runny nose
  • sore throat
  • sneezing
  • unusual tiredness

Rare

  • Ankle, knee pain
  • joint pain
  • blood in the urine
  • swelling on the face, tongue, eyelids, lips, hands, throat, legs, sex organs or feet
  • joint stiffness or swelling
  • loss of consciousness
  • loss of bladder control
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • lower back pain
  • sharp back pain below the ribs
  • pain in the groin or
  • pain in the genitals
  • swelling of the feet

Incidence not known

  • blistering of skin,
  • peeling of skin
  • loosening of the skin
  • itching
  • joint or muscle pain
  • red skin lesions, usually with a purple center
  • red, irritated eyes
  • rapid weight gain
  • tingling of the hands or feet
  • ulcers, sores in he mouth or lips
  • unusual weight loss or gain

Some of the unwanted effects of using Aliskiren might not require any medical attention. Such side effects usually ease as the system adjusts to the prescribed medication. In addition, the physician or pharmacist may be able to advise you on how you can potentially reduce or totally prevent some of these unwanted effects. Consult your doctor if these side effects persist or continue to bother you.

Less serious

  • back pain
  • belching
  • heartburn
  • acid or sour stomach
  • dizziness
  • muscle aches
  • rash
  • indigestion
  • stomach upset, pain or discomfort

This list does not provide all the side effects that can occur when using aliskiren. Some patients might exhibit unwanted effects not mentioned in this article. If you experience any other side effects not listed above, then it is highly recommended that you talk to your doctor or pharmacist for direction.

Dosage

Aliskiren comes in the form of a tablet and is taken orally. This medication can be taken with food or without food; it all depends on your preference. It is recommended that you take the medicine around the same period each day. You should read the medicine's label carefully before use. Tell your doctor or pharmacist to explain parts of the description you may not understand. Take the medication as directed by your doctor; do not take more or less of the medication unless the doctor modifies your dosage.

Adults are advised to take 150 mg of this medicine once a day. However, dose amount may be increased if the high blood pressure of a person cannot be lowered by the suggested daily amount. Pregnant women should not take this medication because it can endanger the life of the unborn baby.

Adults should take 150 mg of this medication orally once per day. The doctor might increase the dosage amount to 300 mg a day if your blood pressure is not sufficiently controlled. Health professionals recommend that you keep in touch with your doctor while using this medication. Close monitoring by the doctor can help you deal with undesirable effects that may show up often.

The anti-hypertensive effect should be attained within 2 weeks. Tablets can be taken with or without meals. It is, however, crucial to know that high-fat meals can substantially decrease the absorption of Aliskiren, and should therefore be avoided as much as possible. Additionally, this medication can be used alone or together with other anti-hypertensive medicines.

Dose adjustments

No dosage modification is required based on age, gender, body weight or race.

Dosage precautions

If you find out that you are pregnant, stop using Aliskiren immediately. Medicines that affect the renin-angiotensin system have the potential to injure or kill the developing fetus. For patients younger than 18 years, the safety and efficacy of aliskiren is not guaranteed. As such, this medication shouldn't be given to patients younger than 18 years. If in doubt, consult your doctor for more advice

If you miss a dose, take it immediately once you remember. However, if you are nearing your next dose, then it's advisable to skip the dose you missed and continue with the next dose as per your schedule. Don't try to compensate for the missed dose by taking a double dose.

Major drug Interactions

Drug interactions can modify how your medicines work or can cause side effects to be more severe. Even though some medicines should never be used together, there are some cases where they may be combined even if the drugs interact with each other. In such cases, the doctor might have to modify the dose or suggest a number of precautions. If you are taking other medications, then it is important to inform your doctor so that he or she checks whether serious interactions exist. Aliskiren cannot be used together with the medicines listed below. Inform your doctor if you are currently using or plan to use any of the medicines below.

  • Azilsartan
  • Benazepril
  • Azilsartan Medoxomil
  • Enalapril
  • Enalaprilat
  • Eprosartan
  • Fosinopril
  • Irbesartan
  • Lisinopril
  • Losartan
  • Moexipril
  • Olmesartan Medoxomil
  • Perindopril
  • Captopril
  • Quinapril
  • Ramipril
  • Telmisartan
  • Valsartan
  • Olmesartan Medoxomil
  • Trandolapril
  • Candesartan

Using aliskiren with the medicines mentioned below is not normally advised, but it may be necessary in some situations. If circumstances force the medicine to be used together, then the doctor may have to modify the recommended dosage.

  • Eliglustat
  • Simeprevir
  • Cyclosporine
  • Itraconazole

Using aliskiren with any of the medicines below has the potential to make certain side effects much worse, but it may be necessary. If both drugs are prescribed as a combination, the doctor may have to modify the dose or frequency of use.

  • Rifampin
  • Furosemide

Other interactions

Some medicines shouldn't be used while eating certain foods as there's potential for interactions to occur. The use of tobacco or alcohol with a combination of some of these medicines can also lead to interactions.

Medical issues

If you suffer from other medical problems, then your condition might affect how aliskiren interacts with your body. As such, it is important to tell your physician if you have other medical issues. This is particularly essential if you happen to suffer or have a history of the following conditions:

  • Airway surgery
  • Angioedema
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Severe heart attack
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney problems
  • Diabetes patients taking certain blood hypertension medicines like angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs)
  • Angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs)
  • Electrolyte imbalances (e.g. low sodium or high potassium in the body)
  • Fluid imbalances (caused by vomiting, diarrhea or dehydration

Keep in mind that the list provided below may not document all drugs that interact with aliskiren. Remember, over-the-counter medication, vitamins or supplements may also interact with this medicine. As such, it is important to inform your doctor if you are using other medicines and supplements, whether they are prescribed by the doctor or not.

Warnings

The use of aliskiren when pregnant is not recommended because the medication can injure or kill your unborn baby. You should instead prevent pregnancy by using an effective birth control method. If you find out that you are pregnant while using this medication, alert your doctor immediately. You should also talk to your doctor if you are breastfeeding. It is not advised to take this medicine while breastfeeding.

This medication can cause severe allergic reactions such as anaphylaxis and angioedema. Anaphylaxis requires urgent medical attention because it's life threatening. Talk to your doctor as soon as possible if you spot a rash, have difficulty breathing, find trouble swallowing, have an itchy feeling, or spot any swelling on your face, lips, tongue, hand or throat while using this medication. The doctor will likely advise you to stop using aliskiren if some of the allergic reactions are severe.

Lightheadedness or dizziness may take place while using this medication, particularly if you've been using water pills. Ensure you understand how your body reacts to this medicine and whether you can drive or operate machinery. In most cases, it's advisable that you don't drive or operate machinery while taking aliskiren because the medication will likely make you feel dizzy.

If you feel dizzy, it is highly advised that you lie down to avert fainting. To prevent dizziness from reoccurring, you should sit for a few minutes before standing. If you faint as a result of using this medicine, stop using it until you consult your doctor. The doctor may have to decide whether you should continue with this medication or not.

Talk to your doctor immediately if you fall sick while taking this medicine, particularly if the symptoms include severe nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. These conditions can lead to low blood pressure because one loses too much water and salt. You also risk losing water through sweating because of exercise or hot weather, so it's advisable to drink a lot of water.

High potassium in the blood (Hyperkalemia) might occur while using this medicine. Check with your physician as soon as you notice the following symptoms: abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting, confusion, irregular heartbeat, difficulty with breathing, nervousness, tingling in your hands or numbness, shortness of breath, heaviness or weakness of the legs. Don't use supplements containing potassium without seeking permission from the doctor. You shouldn't use these medications unless the doctor makes a recommendation (Neoral®, Gengraf®, Sporanox®, Sandimmune® or itraconazole).

Inform your doctor if you are suffering from diabetes (high blood sugar) and you are taking any of the following medicines below:

  • azilsartan (Edarbi, Edarbyclor)
  • irbesartan (in Avalide, Avapro,)
  • losartan (in Hyzaar, Cozaar)
  • eprosartan (Teveten, in Teveten HCT)
  • olmesartan (Benicar, Benicar HCT in Azor)
  • valsartan (Diovan, in Diovan HCT, Exforge) or an ACE inhibitor.
  • telmisartan (Micardis, in Micardis HCT)

Don't take any type of medication unless you've talked to your doctor. This also includes over-the-counter drugs that do not require any prescription from the physician. Medicines for increasing appetite, asthma, hay fever, colds or sinus problems can increase your blood pressure.

It is essential that your physician monitors your progress periodically. This enables the doctor to find out if the prescribed medication is working well and whether you should continue taking the medicine or not. The doctor may have to conduct blood tests to check for any undesirable side effects. Inform your doctor if you experience any new unwanted effects that have not yet been documented.

Storage

Keep this medicine safely away from children's reach and ensure the container is closed properly. Store the medicine at room temperature, meaning away from locations in your home where there is moisture or heat like the bathroom. Don't remove the drying agent from the container if it's provided. Dispose the unneeded medication properly and safely so that they can't be consumed by pets, kids or other people.

It is, however, not advisable to flush these drugs down the toilet. Rather, you should sign up for the take-back program because it's the ideal way of disposing of this kind of medication. Speak with your local garbage collector or pharmacist to get more info about the take-back programs in your locality. You can also get more info from the FDA's (Safe Disposal of Medicines) website on how to dispose of the drugs safely.

Summary

Aliskiren is used alone or in combination with other medicines to treat high blood pressure (hypertension). The medicine belongs to a class of medicines known as renin inhibitors, and works by blocking certain enzymes in the body that make blood vessels contract. Aliskiren relaxes blood vessels thus lowering your blood pressure. Without urgent medical intervention, patients suffering from high blood pressure risk suffering from conditions such as stroke, heart and kidney failure. This medication may also be used treat other conditions not mentioned here.

High blood pressure patients taking aliskiren should expect a number of unwanted side effects. Serious side effects that require the intervention of your doctor include fainting, feeling lightheaded, nausea with slow heart beat, swelling in the face, tongue, or around the eyes. Less serious side effects that you could experience when taking this medicine include stomach pain, skin rash, dizziness, headache, back pain, sore throat and cough. You should also watch out for severe allergic reactions while taking aliskiren. Talk to your physician as soon as possible if the medication causes severe reactions such as having difficulty with breathing or swallowing, swelling in some parts of the body such as the face, lips, tongue or throat.

Adults are advised to take 150 mg of this medicine once a day. However, dose amount may be increased if the high blood pressure cannot be lowered by the suggested daily amount. Pregnant women should not take this medication because it can endanger the life of the unborn baby.

Healthcare professionals advise that you store aliskiren safely away from the reach of children. The medicine should be stored at room temperature. You should take care when disposing of the medication so that it's not accessed by other people, children or pets. It's recommended that you dispose the medicine through a local take-back program.

Lastly, it's crucial to maintain a written list that has all the prescription and non-prescription (over-the-counter) medications you are taking, in addition to any other products that could interact with Aliskiren such as vitamins, minerals and other dietary supplements. Every time you have an appointment with the doctor, it is important to carry the list with you.

Resources
Last Reviewed:
December 10, 2017
Last Updated:
April 04, 2018