Aliskiren (Tekturna) is the first drug approved in this class. (A combination of aliskiren and amlodipine called Tekamlo is also available.) It reduces blood pressure by blocking the activity of renin, an enzyme that converts angiotensinogen to angiotensin I.

When angiotensin I is converted to angiotensin II, arteries constrict and blood pressure rises.

Studies show that Tekturna produces modest reductions in blood pressure, but there's no evidence that it reduces the risk of heart attack, stroke or kidney disease like diuretics, ACE inhibitors and ARBs do. Therefore, Tekturna is not considered first-line therapy.

The most common side effects of Tekturna are mild gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, upset stomach and acid reflux. Tekturna should not be used by pregnant women or women planning on becoming pregnant.

Publication Review By: Lawrence Appel, M.D., and Rafael H. Llinas, M.D.

Published: 16 Jul 2013

Last Modified: 16 Jul 2013