"The European Medicines Agency's Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) has recommended the marketing of selexipag (Uptravi, Actelion Registration Ltd) for the treatment of adults with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH)./"...
Mechanism of Action
Renin is secreted by the kidney in response to decreases in blood volume and renal perfusion. Renin cleaves angiotensinogen to form the inactive decapeptide angiotensin I (Ang I). Ang I is converted to the active octapeptide angiotensin II (Ang II) by angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) and non-ACE pathways. Ang II is a powerful vasoconstrictor and leads to the release of catecholamines from the adrenal medulla and prejunctional nerve endings. It also promotes aldosterone secretion and sodium reabsorption. Together, these effects increase blood pressure. Ang II also inhibits renin release, thus providing a negative feedback to the system. This cycle, from renin through angiotensin to aldosterone and its associated negative feedback loop, is known as the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS). Aliskiren is a direct renin inhibitor, decreasing plasma renin activity (PRA) and inhibiting the conversion of angiotensinogen to Ang I. Whether aliskiren affects other RAAS components, e.g., ACE or non-ACE pathways, is not known.
All agents that inhibit the RAAS, including renin inhibitors, suppress the negative feedback loop, leading to a compensatory rise in plasma renin concentration. When this rise occurs during treatment with ACE inhibitors and ARBs, the result is increased levels of PRA. During treatment with aliskiren, however, the effect of increased renin levels is blocked, so that PRA, Ang I and Ang II are all reduced, whether aliskiren is used as monotherapy or in combination with other antihypertensive agents.
Hydrochlorothiazide is a thiazide diuretic. Thiazides affect the renal tubular mechanisms of electrolyte reabsorption, directly increasing excretion of sodium and chloride in approximately equivalent amounts. Indirectly, the diuretic action of hydrochlorothiazide reduces plasma volume, with consequent increases in plasma renin activity, increases in aldosterone secretion, increases in urinary potassium loss, and decreases in serum potassium. The renin-aldosterone link is mediated by angiotensin II, so coadministration of agents that block the production or function of angiotensin II tends to reverse the potassium loss associated with these diuretics.
The mechanism of action of the antihypertensive effect of thiazides is unknown.
In placebo-controlled clinical trials, PRA was decreased with aliskiren monotherapy (ranging from 54% to 65%) and increased with hydrochlorothiazide monotherapy (ranging from 4% to 72%). Treatment with Tekturna HCT resulted in PRA reductions ranging from approximately 46% to 63% in various doses despite the increase in PRA with hydrochlorothiazide treatment. The clinical implications of the differences in effect on PRA are not known.
PRA reductions in clinical trials ranged from approximately 50% to 80%, were not dose-related and did not correlate with blood pressure reductions. The clinical implications of the differences in effect on PRA are not known.
After oral administration of hydrochlorothiazide, diuresis begins within 2 hours, peaks in about 4 hours, and lasts about 6 to 12 hours.
Alcohol, barbiturates, or narcotics: Potentiation of orthostatic hypotension may occur.
Skeletal muscle relaxants: Possible increased responsiveness to muscle relaxants such as curare derivatives.
Absorption and Distribution
Following oral administration of Tekturna HCT combination tablets, the median peak plasma concentration time is within 1 hour for aliskiren and 2.5 hours for hydrochlorothiazide. When taken with food, mean AUC and Cmax of aliskiren are decreased by 60% and 82%, respectively; mean AUC and Cmax of hydrochlorothiazide increased by 13% and 10%, respectively. As a result, patients should establish a routine pattern for taking Tekturna HCT with regard to meals.
Aliskiren is poorly absorbed (bioavailability about 2.5%). Following oral administration, peak plasma concentrations of aliskiren are reached within 1 to 3 hours. When taken with a high fat meal, mean AUC and Cmax of aliskiren are decreased by 71% and 85% respectively. In the clinical trials of aliskiren, it was administered without requiring a fixed relation of administration to meals.
The estimated absolute bioavailability of hydrochlorothiazide after oral administration is about 70%. Peak plasma hydrochlorothiazide concentrations (Cmax) are reached within 2 to 5 hours after oral administration. There is no clinically significant effect of food on the bioavailability of hydrochlorothiazide.
Hydrochlorothiazide binds to albumin (40 to 70%) and distributes into erythrocytes. Following oral administration, plasma hydrochlorothiazide concentrations decline bi-exponentially, with a mean distribution half-life of about 2 hours and an elimination half-life of about 10 hours.
Metabolism and Elimination
The effective half-life for aliskiren is 24 hours. Steady state blood levels are reached in about 7 – 8 days. About one-fourth of the absorbed dose appears in the urine as parent drug. How much of the absorbed dose is metabolized is unknown. Based on the in vitro studies, the major enzyme responsible for aliskiren metabolism appears to be CYP 3A4. Aliskiren does not inhibit the CYP450 isoenzymes (CYP 1A2, 2C8, 2C9, 2C19, 2D6, 2E1, and 3A) or induce CYP 3A4.
Transporters: Pgp (MDR1/Mdr1a/1b) was found to be the major efflux system involved in absorption and disposition of aliskiren in preclinical studies. The potential for drug interactions at the Pgp site will likely depend on the degree of inhibition of this transporter.
About 70% of an orally administered dose of hydrochlorothiazide is eliminated in the urine as unchanged drug.
The effect of co-administered drugs on the pharmacokinetics of aliskiren and vice versa, were studied in several single and multiple dose studies. Pharmacokinetic measures indicating the magnitude of these interactions are presented in Figure 5 (impact of co-administered drugs on aliskiren) and Figure 6 (impact on co-administered drugs).
Figure 5: The impact of co-administered drugs on the
pharmacokinetics of aliskiren
Warfarin: There was no clinically significant effect of a single dose of warfarin 25 mg on the pharmacokinetics of aliskiren.
Figure 6: The impact of aliskiren on the pharmacokinetics
of co-administered drugs
Furosemide: In patients with heart failure, co-administration of aliskiren (300 mg/day) reduced plasma AUC and Cmax of oral furosemide (60 mg/day) by 17% and 27%, respectively, and reduced 24 hour urinary furosemide excretion by 29%. This change in exposure did not result in statistically significant difference in total urine volume and urinary sodium excretion over 24 hours. However, a transient decrease in urinary sodium excretion and urine volume effects up to 12 hours were observed when furosemide was co-administered with aliskiren 300 mg/day.
Drugs that alter gastrointestinal motility: The bioavailability of thiazide-type diuretics may be increased by anticholinergic agents (e.g. atropine, biperiden), apparently due to a decrease in gastrointestinal motility and the stomach emptying rate. Conversely, pro-kinetic drugs may decrease the bioavailability of thiazide diuretics.
Cholestyramine: In a dedicated drug interaction study, administration of cholestyramine 2 hours before hydrochlorothiazide resulted in a 70% reduction in exposure to hydrochlorothiazide. Further, administration of hydrochlorothiazide 2 hours before cholestyramine, resulted in 35% reduction in exposure to hydrochlorothiazide.
Antineoplastic agents (e.g. cyclophosphamide, methotrexate): Concomitant use of thiazide diuretics may reduce renal excretion of cytotoxic agents and enhance their myelosuppressive effects.
The pharmacokinetics of aliskiren have not been investigated in patients < 18 years of age.
The pharmacokinetics of aliskiren were studied in the elderly ( ≥ 65 years). Exposure (measured by AUC) is increased in elderly patients. Hydrochlorothiazide A limited amount of data suggest that the systemic clearance of hydrochlorothiazide is reduced in both healthy and hypertensive elderly subjects compared to young healthy volunteers.
Too few non-Caucasians have been studied with Tekturna HCT to assess pharmacokinetic differences among races. The pharmacokinetic differences among Blacks, Caucasians, and Japanese are minimal with aliskiren therapy.
The pharmacokinetics of aliskiren were evaluated in patients with varying degrees of renal impairment. Rate and extent of exposure (AUC and Cmax) of aliskiren in subjects with renal impairment did not show a consistent correlation with the severity of renal impairment [see Use in Specific Populations].
The pharmacokinetics of aliskiren following administration of a single oral dose of 300 mg was evaluated in patients with End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) undergoing hemodialysis. When compared to matched healthy subjects, changes in the rate and extent of aliskiren exposure (Cmax and AUC) in ESRD patients undergoing hemodialysis were not clinically significant.
Timing of hemodialysis did not significantly alter the pharmacokinetics of aliskiren in ESRD patients. Therefore, no dose adjustment is warranted in ESRD patients receiving hemodialysis.
In a study in individuals with impaired renal function, the mean elimination half-life of hydrochlorothiazide was doubled in individuals with mild/moderate renal impairment (30 < CLcr < 90 mL/min) and tripled in severe renal impairment ( ≤ 30 mL/min), compared to individuals with normal renal function (CLcr > 90 mL/min) [see Use in Specific Populations].
In all clinical trials including over 6,200 patients, more than 2,700 patients were exposed to combinations of aliskiren and hydrochlorothiazide. The safety and efficacy of Tekturna HCT were evaluated in patients with mild-to-moderate hypertension in an 8-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group, 15arm factorial trial (n=2762). Patients were randomized to receive various combinations of aliskiren (75 mg to 300 mg) plus hydrochlorothiazide (6.25 mg to 25 mg) once daily (without titrating up from monotherapy) and followed for blood pressure response. The combination of aliskiren and hydrochlorothiazide resulted in additive placebo-adjusted decreases in systolic and diastolic blood pressure at trough of 10-14/5-7 mmHg at doses of 150-300 mg/12.5-25 mg, compared to 5-8/2-3 mmHg for aliskiren 150 mg to 300 mg and 6-7/2-3 mmHg for hydrochlorothiazide 12.5 mg to 25 mg, alone. Blood pressure reductions with the combinations were greater than the reductions with the monotherapies as shown in Table 1.
Table 1: Placebo-Subtracted Reductions in Seated
Trough Cuff Blood Pressure in Combination with Hydrochlorothiazide
|Aliskiren, mg||Placebo Mean Change||Hydrochlorothiazide, mg|
|Placebo- subtracted||Placebo- subtracted||Placebo- subtracted||Placebo- subtracted|
The safety and efficacy of Tekturna HCT as initial therapy was evaluated in this trial. All patients randomized to the combination groups received the combination treatment of Tekturna HCT at assigned doses as initial therapy without titration from monotherapy. The figures [see INDICATIONS AND USAGE] display the probability that a patient will achieve systolic or diastolic blood pressure goal with Tekturna HCT 300/25 mg, based upon their baseline systolic or diastolic blood pressure. At all levels of baseline blood pressure, the probability of achieving any given diastolic or systolic goal is greater with the combination than for either monotherapy.
The antihypertensive effect of Tekturna HCT was largely manifested within 1 week. The maximum antihypertensive effect was generally attained after about 4 weeks of therapy.
One active-controlled trial investigated the addition of 300 mg aliskiren in obese hypertensive patients who did not respond adequately to hydrochlorothiazide 25 mg, and showed incremental decreases of systolic and diastolic blood pressure of approximately 7/4 mmHg.
In long-term follow-up studies (without placebo control) the effect of the combination of aliskiren and hydrochlorothiazide was maintained for over 1 year.
The antihypertensive effect was independent of age and gender. There were too few non-Caucasians to assess differences in blood pressure effects by race.
The antihypertensive effects of aliskiren have been demonstrated in six randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, 8-week clinical trials in patients with mild-to-moderate hypertension. The placebo response and placebo-subtracted changes from baseline in seated trough cuff blood pressure are shown in Table 2.
Table 2: Reductions in
Seated Trough Cuff Blood Pressure in the Placebo-Controlled Studies of
|Study||Placebo Mean Change||Aliskiren Daily Dose, mg|
|*p < 0.05 vs. placebo by ANCOVA with Dunnett's procedure
for multiple comparisons.
†p < 0.05 vs. placebo by ANCOVA for the pairwise comparison
The studies included approximately 2,730 patients given doses of 75 mg to 600 mg of aliskiren and 1,231 patients given placebo. As shown in Table 2, there is some increase in response with administered dose in all studies, with reasonable effects seen at 150 mg to 300 mg, and no clear further increase at 600 mg. A substantial proportion (85% to 90%) of the blood pressure lowering effect was observed within 2 weeks of treatment. Studies with ambulatory blood pressure monitoring showed reasonable control throughout the interdosing interval, e.g., the ratios of mean daytime to mean nighttime ambulatory BP ranged from 0.6 to 0.9.
Patients in the placebo-controlled trials continued open-label aliskiren for up to one year. A persistent blood pressure lowering effect was demonstrated by a randomized withdrawal study (patients randomized to continued drug or placebo), which showed a statistically significant difference between patients kept on aliskiren and those randomized to placebo. With cessation of treatment, blood pressure gradually returned toward baseline levels over a period of several weeks. There was no evidence of rebound hypertension after abrupt cessation of therapy.
The effectiveness of aliskiren was demonstrated across all demographic subgroups, although Black patients tended to have smaller reductions in blood pressure than Caucasians and Asians, as has been seen with ACE inhibitors and ARBs.
Aliskiren in Combination with Other Antihypertensives
Aliskiren 150 mg and 300 mg and valsartan 160 mg and 320 mg were studied alone and in combination in an 8week, 1,797-patient, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group, 4-arm, dose-escalation study. The dosages of aliskiren and valsartan were started at 150 mg and 160 mg, respectively, and increased at four weeks to 300 mg and 320 mg, respectively. Seated trough cuff blood pressure was measured at baseline, 4, and 8 weeks. Blood pressure reductions with the combinations were greater than the reductions with the monotherapies as shown in Table 3.
Table 3: Placebo-Subtracted
Reductions in Seated Trough Cuff Blood Pressure of Aliskiren in Combination
|Aliskiren, mg||Placebo Mean Change||Valsartan, mg|
|* The placebo change is 5.2/4.8 for Week 4 endpoint which was used for the dose groups containing aliskiren 150 mg or valsartan 160 mg.|
Aliskiren 150 mg and 300 mg and amlodipine besylate 5 mg and 10 mg were studied alone and in combination in an 8week, 1,685-patient, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multifactorial study. Treatment with aliskiren and amlodipine resulted overall in significantly greater reductions in diastolic and systolic blood pressure compared to the respective monotherapy components as shown in Table 4.
Table 4: Placebo-Subtracted Reductions in Seated
Trough Cuff Blood Pressure in Combination with Amlodipine
|Aliskiren, mg||Placebo mean change||Amlodipine, mg|
Aliskiren has not been studied when added to maximal doses of ACE inhibitors to determine whether aliskiren produces additional blood pressure reduction.
There are no trials of the Tekturna HCT combination tablet demonstrating reductions in cardiovascular risk in patients with hypertension, but the hydrochlorothiazide component has demonstrated such benefits.
Aliskiren in Patients with Diabetes treated with ARB or ACEI (ALTITUDE study)
Patients with diabetes with renal disease (defined either by the presence of albuminuria or reduced GFR) were randomized to aliskiren 300 mg daily (n=4283) or placebo (n=4296). All patients were receiving background therapy with an ARB or ACEI. The primary efficacy outcome was the time to the first event of the primary composite endpoint consisting of cardiovascular death, resuscitated sudden death, non-fatal myocardial infarction, non-fatal stroke, unplanned hospitalization for heart failure, onset of end stage renal disease, renal death, and doubling of serum creatinine concentration from baseline sustained for at least one month. After a median follow up of about 27 months, the trial was terminated early for lack of efficacy. Higher risk of renal impairment, hypotension and hyperkalemia was observed in aliskiren compared to placebo treated patients, as shown in the table below.
Table 5: Incidence of
selected adverse events in ALTITUDE
|Serious Adverse Events* (%)||Adverse Events (%)||Serious Adverse Events* (%)||Adverse Events (%)|
|†renal failure, renal failure
acute, renal failure chronic, renal impairment
††dizziness, dizziness postural, hypotension, orthostatic hypotension, presyncope, syncope
††† Given the variable baseline potassium levels of patients with renal insufficiency on dual RAAS therapy, the reporting of adverse event of hyperkalemia was at the discretion of the investigator.
* A Serious Adverse Event (SAE) is defined as: an event which is fatal or life-threatening, results in persistent or significant disability/incapacity, constitutes a congenital anomaly/birth defect, requires inpatient hospitalization or prolongation of existing hospitalization, or is medically significant (i.e. defined as an event that jeopardizes the patient or may require medical or surgical intervention to prevent one of the outcomes previously listed).
The risk of stroke (2.7% aliskiren vs 2.0% placebo) and death (6.9% aliskiren vs. 6.4% placebo) were also numerically higher in aliskiren treated patients.
Last reviewed on RxList: 11/15/2013
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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