Novartis receives FDA approval for Valturna®, a single-pill combination of valsartan and aliskiren, to treat high blood pressure.
- Valturna combines in a single pill valsartan, an angiotensin receptor blocker, with aliskiren, the only approved direct renin inhibitor.
- Valturna is the first therapy to target two points within the renin angiotensin aldosterone system (RAAS), which plays a key role in regulating blood pressure.
- Valturna offers significantly greater blood pressure reduction than either valsartan or aliskiren alone.
“This unique combination brings together the powerful blood pressure lowering effects of valsartan and aliskiren,” said Joe Jimenez, CEO of the Novartis Pharmaceuticals Division. “It offers an important additional treatment option for physicians and hypertension patients, many of whom are not at their blood pressure goal. Valturna builds upon our strong cardiovascular franchise and is consistent with our long-term commitment to developing effective and innovative therapies. It further strengthens our growing portfolio of single-pill combinations to treat high blood pressure.”
Valturna combines in a single pill valsartan, the active ingredient in Diovan®, the number one selling blood pressure medication worldwide, and aliskiren, the active ingredient in Tekturna®, the only approved direct renin inhibitor (DRI). Valturna offers significantly greater blood pressure reduction than either valsartan or aliskiren alone.
“When it comes to diagnosing and treating high blood pressure, there is a real need for innovative therapies that help patients get to a healthier blood pressure range,” said John Flack, M.D., Valturna investigator, and Chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine, Wayne State University, Detroit. “Now for the first time, we have a treatment option in one pill that targets two key points of the RAAS, which may be overactive in many hypertensive patients.”
This approval was primarily based on a pivotal eight-week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial in approximately 1,800 patients, which studied aliskiren 150 mg and 300 mg and valsartan 160 mg and 320 mg alone and in combination. The initial doses of aliskiren and valsartan were 150 mg and 160 mg, respectively, and were increased at four weeks to 300 mg and 320 mg, respectively. Blood pressure reductions with the aliskiren/valsartan combination were significantly greater than with the monotherapies or placebo at the 8-week primary endpoint. Mean systolic and diastolic blood pressure reductions from baseline were 17.2/12.2 mmHg for aliskiren 300 mg/valsartan 320 mg, compared with 12.8/9.7 mmHg for valsartan 320 mg, 13.0/9.0 mmHg for aliskiren 300 mg, and 4.6/4.1 mmHg for placebo (p<0.05 for aliskiren/valsartan vs monotherapies or placebo).
The single-pill combination Valturna targets the RAAS in two ways. Valsartan blocks, at the receptor level, the action of angiotensin II, a component of the RAAS that causes blood vessels to tighten and narrow. Aliskiren directly inhibits renin, an enzyme produced by the kidneys that starts a process that leads to formation of angiotensin II. An overactive RAAS may contribute to high blood pressure. By targeting two key points within the RAAS, Valturna helps blood vessels relax and widen so blood pressure is lowered.
Research suggests that up to 85% of patients with high blood pressure may need multiple medications to help control their blood pressure, underscoring the need for effective combination treatments.
High blood pressure affects over one billion individuals globally, and is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, the number one leading cause of death worldwide. If left untreated, patients with high blood pressure are at risk of cardiovascular events such as stroke, heart attack and heart failure, and of organ damage including kidney failure and vision problems. Up to 65% of patients with high blood pressure do not have the condition under control.
Tekturna, a direct renin-inhibitor, is the only drug that works by directly targeting renin to decrease the activity of the RAAS. Renin is an enzyme produced by the kidneys that starts a process that narrows blood vessels and, when inappropriately activated, may lead to high blood pressure. Tekturna reduces plasma renin activity and helps blood vessels relax and widen so blood pressure is lowered.
The heart and kidney protection potential of Rasilez/Tekturna, in addition to its blood pressure lowering ability, is currently being investigated further in the landmark ASPIRE HIGHER program, the largest ongoing cardio-renal outcomes program worldwide involving more than 35,000 patients in 14 trials.
Rasilez/Tekturna is approved in over 70 countries. Tekturna was approved in the US in March 2007 and in the European Union in August 2007 under the trade name Rasilez. In July 2009, Rasilez also received approval in Japan. Tekturna HCT, the first single-pill combination involving Tekturna, was approved in the US in January 2008 for second-line treatment of high blood pressure, and more recently for first-line use. The single-pill combination Rasilez HCT was approved in the European Union in January 2009. Other single-pill combinations with Rasilez are currently in development including a single pill combination with amlodipine.
Novartis is focused on improving the lives of the hundreds of thousands of people with cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. As a global leader in cardiovascular and metabolic health for nearly 50 years, Novartis provides innovative therapies and support programs to treat high blood pressure and diabetes – both major public health issues. The portfolio includes the number one selling blood pressure medication worldwide, the first and only approved direct renin inhibitor, a single pill combining two leading high blood pressure medicines, and a DPP-4 inhibitor.
Valturna is available in two strengths as tablets containing aliskiren and valsartan: 150 mg/160 mg and 300 mg/320 mg.