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Aliskiren is used to treat hypertension or high blood pressure. This condition adds to the workload of the heart and arteries. Blood pressure is the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. Each time your heart beats, it pumps blood into the arteries. The more blood your heart pumps and the narrower your arteries, the higher your blood pressure. Hypertension generally develops over many years and it affects nearly everyone. You can have this condition for years without any symptoms. Damage to blood vessels and your heart continues and can be detected even without symptoms. For some people with hypertension, they may have headaches nosebleeds or shortness of breath. Uncontrolled high blood pressure increases your risk of serious health problems such as stroke and heart attack. 

Most people with this type of condition have no signs and symptoms even if blood pressure readings reach dangerously high levels. A few people with high blood pressure may have shortness of breath, headaches, or nosebleeds. These signs and symptoms are not exact and frequently don’t happen until the condition has reached a severe or life-threatening stage. 

Aliskiren is in the class of medications known as direct renin inhibitors. Lowering high blood pressure helps prevent kidney problems, heart attacks, and strokes. This medication relaxes blood vessels so blood can flow more easily. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already approved this prescription. Aliskiren comes as a tablet with the dosage strengths of 150 mg and 300 mg for oral use. 

How does Aliskiren work?

Aliskiren works by preventing the action of an enzyme in the body called renin. Usually, renin helps the body make a compound called angiotensin I. This is converted into angiotensin II as part of the body’s natural control of blood pressure. Angiotensin II causes blood vessels to tighten and narrow which increases the blood pressure. By blocking the action of renin, Aliskiren reduces the production of angiotensin I and II. This allows the blood vessels to relax and widen, which lowers blood pressure.

Lowering blood pressure within the whole population by lifestyle interventions such as increasing the consumption of fruit and vegetables or reducing dietary salt intake will be of great benefit. Blood pressure-lowering trials also demonstrate immense benefits in preventing heart failure, strokes, and coronary heart disease. There are no differences in outcome between the different methods used to lower blood pressure. The benefit is proportional to the degree of blood pressure-lowering. 

How to use Aliskiren?

The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to the treatment. You should take this medication exactly as it is prescribed. Do not take more or less or more often than it is given by your doctor. Your doctor may start giving you at a lower dose and gradually increase it. 

Aliskiren is a medication to be taken by mouth. Usually, this is taken once a day or as directed by your doctor. You may take each dose with or without a meal. Taking this drug with a meal may help avoid or lessen nausea. Swallow the tablet as a whole with a full glass of water. Do not break, crush, or chew it. High-fat foods may lessen how well this medicine is absorbed by the body. So, it is best to avoid taking this medication with a high-fat meal. Remember to take it at the same time and in the same way every day. For the best benefit, take it regularly. This drug may help control your symptoms, but it will not cure your condition. Even if you feel well, continue to take this prescription. Do not suddenly stop taking this without consulting your doctor. If you missed a dose, take it as soon as you remember it. Never mind the missed dose and follow your regular dosing schedule if it’s almost time for the next dose. Do not double the dose to make up for a missed one. Let your doctor know if your condition does not improve or if it gets worse. 

What are the side effects of Aliskiren?

Common side effects:

  • Sore throat
  • Stuffy nose
  • Joint pain or swelling 
  • Back pain
  • Tired feeling
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Itching or skin rash 
  • Cough
  • Light-headedness
  • Diarrhea
  • Heartburn
  • Upset stomach 

Tell your doctor right away if these side effects occur:

  • Swelling around your eyes
  • Nausea with slow uneven heart rate and a weak pulse
  • Severe skin reaction (burning in your eyes, fever, swelling in your face, sore throat, skin pain, a red skin rash that spreads and causes blistering or peeling)
  • Unusual changes in the amount of urine 
  • Fainting
  • Symptoms of a high potassium blood level (slow or irregular heartbeat and muscle weakness)

Call for medical help if you experience signs of an allergic reaction including:

  • Hives 
  • Difficulty or trouble breathing 
  • Swelling in your lips, throat, face, or mouth 

Warnings and Precautions

  • Blood pressure-lowering medicines such as Aliskiren can sometimes make you feel dizzy or weary. You should avoid performing possibly dangerous tasks such as operating machinery or driving. If you feel dizzy this can usually be relieved by lying down until the symptoms pass. Any dizziness may be made worse by drinking alcohol. If you frequently feel dizzy you should let your doctor know, as your dose of this medicine may need adjusting.
  • If you ever had an allergic reaction to this medication, let your doctor know. Tell as well if you have any allergies. This drug may contain an inactive ingredient that causes an allergic reaction. 
  • Let your doctor know if you are taking any other medications including vitamins or herbal supplements. 
  • Certain medicines should not be used during breastfeeding or pregnancy. However, other medicines may be safely used in breastfeeding or pregnancy providing the benefits to the mother outweighs the risks to the unborn baby. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, before using any medicine.
  • This prescription should not be used in pregnant, breastfeeding women, people with severe kidney problems, or an inherited condition called hereditary angioneurotic edema.
  • This should be used with caution in people with heart disease, diabetes, liver disease, or low salt or fluid volume in the body.