FDA Warns Diabetes Patients About Combining Aliskiren

On April 19, the US Food and Drug Administration issued a warning to diabetes patients not to combine the blood pressure medication aliskiren (Tekturna) with ACE inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers. The warning also applies to patients who have renal impairment.

The FDA said that patients with diabetes who mix the drugs risk kidney damage, hypotension (extremely low blood pressure), and hyperkalemia (abnormal levels of potassium in the blood).
Medications that contain aliskiren include:
• Amturnide (aliskiren hemifumarate, amlodipine besylate, and hydrochlorothiazide)
• Tekturna (aliskiren hemifumarate)
• Tekturna HCT (aliskiren hemifumarate and hydrochlorothiazide)
• Tekamlo (aliskiren hemifumarate and amlodipine besylate)
• Valturna (aliskiren hemifumarate and valsartan) (Valturna will no longer be marketed after July 2012)

Aliskiren is a medication called a direct renin inhibitor. It works by decreasing certain natural chemicals that tighten the blood vessels, thus relaxing them and allowing for more efficient circulation.
ACE (angiotensin converting enzyme) inhibitors are a class of drugs that cause blood vessels to widen. They are often used to treat hypertension and heart failure. Angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) allow blood vessels to relax and dilate.

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