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New Combination Pill for Hypertension

Monday November 9, 2009
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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved Valturna, an antihypertensive combination of aliskiren (a direct renin inhibitor) and valsartan (an angiotensin II receptor blocker). Valturna is indicated for patients with hypertension thatís inadequately controlled by either of these medications alone or as initial therapy for patients who will require multiple drugs to achieve their blood pressure goals.

Available in dosage combinations of 150/160mg and 300/320mg, Valturna is typically started at the lower dose strength and titrated up as needed and tolerated.

The most common adverse events seen with Valturna include fatigue, nasopharyngitis, and a decrease in renal function. Other, more serious events include angioedema of the head and neck, and hyperkalemia.

Valturna has been classified as pregnancy category D, indicating that it may harm an unborn baby, causing injury and death. Patients prescribed Valturna must stop the medication and immediately notify their prescribing practitioner. Alternative treatment options should be considered and discussed with patients contemplating pregnancy or who are likely to become pregnant.

Hypotension may also occur in patients taking Valturna if they become volume- or salt-depleted. Electrolyte evaluation and correction of any imbalances is advised before medication initiation. Periodic monitoring of serum electrolytes and hepatic function is also important.

Drug interactions can occur with concomitant Valturna and Cyclosporine therapy. If potassium sparing diuretics, potassium supplements, or salt substitutes are used during Valturna therapy, hyperkalemia may occur and patients with heart failure may experience increases in serum creatinine levels.


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