Renin blockers are a new type of medication used to treat high blood pressure. Though widely available, they are so new that the renin blockers do not have a generic equivalent, which can make them more expensive than some other high blood pressure medicines. Also because of their recent introduction, renin blockers are not currently used to treat any illness or disease other than high blood pressure. Though this may change in the future, high blood pressure is currently the only reason for taking renin blockers.
How Do Renin Blockers Work?:
Renin blockers share certain traits with ACE Inhibitors and Angiotensin Receptor Blockers, both of which are also important drugs for the treatment of high blood pressure. Renin blockers inhibit the action of a kidney enzyme, called renin, which can act to raise blood pressure. Renin is the first step of a complicated hormone system called the Renin-Angiotensin-Aldosterone-System (RAAS). By blocking the action of renin in the RAAS, these drugs can decrease the production of angiotensin and aldosterone, which are both potent agents that raise blood pressure.
Common Renin Blockers:
Currently, only one renin blocker is available. The drug Tekturna (generic name Aliskiren), manufactured by Novartis Pharmaceuticals, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration for high blood pressure treatment in March 2007. Other drugs in this family are expected to be released onto the market, and three agents are currently in FDA clinical trials which are thought to be renin blockers (the proprietary nature of drug testing means that some details are not disclosed to the public). Tekturna is available by prescription throughout the United States and Canada.
Renin Blocker Side Effects:
While clinical trials have shown renin blockers like Tekturna to be well tolerated, they still carry some risk of side effects. Some side effects of renin blockers include:
- Stomach Upset
- Swelling of the Face and/or Neck
- Increased Blood Potassium (rare)
Pregnant women should not take renin blockers.
This list of side effects is not exhaustive. If you experience any abnormal reactions to taking medication, you should always consult your physician.
Renin Blocker Notes:
Only you and your doctor can decide how to treat your high blood pressure. Be sure to notify your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, and notify him of any other medicines and/or supplements you are taking. Remember to include over-the-counter medicines and herbal/natural supplements.