Direct renin inhibitors for high blood pressure


Generic Name Brand Name
aliskiren Tekturna

How It Works

Direct renin inhibitors block the enzyme renin from triggering a process that helps regulate blood pressure. As a result, blood vessels relax and widen, making it easier for blood to flow through the vessels, which lowers blood pressure.

Direct renin inhibitors, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, and angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) all target the same process that narrows blood vessels. But each type of medicine blocks a different part of the process.

Aliskiren can be used alone or in combination with a diuretic or other medicines for high blood pressure.

Why It Is Used

Direct renin inhibitors are used to lower high blood pressure.

How Well It Works

Direct renin inhibitors can lower blood pressure in people with mild to moderate high blood pressure. This medicine is effective when used alone or in combination with other medicines for high blood pressure.1

Side Effects

The most common side effect of direct renin inhibitors is diarrhea.

Other, more rare, side effects may include:

  • Allergic reaction with swelling in the face, lips, tongue, or throat which may cause difficulty breathing or swallowing.
  • Rash.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

Direct renin inhibitors are the newest type of medicine for high blood pressure. This medicine was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2007. So long-term safety and effectiveness are not yet known.

Direct renin inhibitors should not be used by pregnant women. If you become pregnant, stop taking this medicine and call your doctor.

Before taking a direct renin inhibitor, tell your doctor if you have kidney problems. People with kidney problems may need to have regular blood tests to make sure this medicine does not reduce kidney function.

Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about possible interactions that aliskiren may have with your current medicines. The amount of aliskiren in your body may change when you also take furosemide (such as Lasix) or ketoconazole (such as Nizoral).

Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.



  1. Aliskiren (Tekturna) for hypertension (2007). Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics, 49(1258): 29–31.

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