FDA Approves New Blood Pressure Medication

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Tablets containing a combination of the blood pressure medication aliskiren and water pill hydrochlorothiazide have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the product's manufacturer, Novartis AG, said Monday.

Sold under the name Tekturna in the United States, the hypertension compound aliskiren was approved last March. It acts by targeting renin, an enzyme responsible for high blood pressure. The newly approved version also includes hydrochlorothiazide, a compound that inhibits the kidney's ability to retain water. This water pill is commonly used to treat high blood pressure.

Tekturna HCT tablets are intended for patients whose blood pressure has not been controlled by a single drug. They will be available in early February the company said.

Side effects associated with the new combination tablets include dizziness, flu-like symptoms, diarrhea, cough, tiredness and skin rashes.

Attempts to reach FDA officials to confirm the approval were not immediately successful.

Tekturna is known as Rasilez outside of the United States.

The company's U.S. affiliate Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. is based in East Hanover, N.J.