Novartis has presented data which shows that the antihypertensive Rasilez/Tektura significantly reduces blood pressure in patients aged 65 and over compared to ramipril.

The findings from the AGELESS trial, presented at the American Heart Association meeting in New Orleans, showed that Rasilez (aliskiren) provided an additional reduction in systolic blood pressure of 2.3mmHG compared with King Pharmaceuticals’ ACE inhibitor Altace(ramipril). The 900-patient study also revealed that a greater reduction of diastolic blood pressure (ie between heart beats) was also achieved with Novartis’ first-in-class direct renin inhibitor (-4.8 mmHg versus -3.5 mmHg).

Daniel Duprez of the University of Minnesota and lead author of the AGELESS study, noted that high blood pressure “becomes more prevalent and challenging to treat with age". Given that 70% of people aged over 60 have the condition and the elderly population is expected to more than double over the next thirty years, “it is important to have effective therapies such as aliskiren to treat a range of patients, including the elderly," he added.

Trevor Mundel, head of global development functions at Novartis Pharma, said that AGELESS is the third study to show that Rasilez lowers blood pressure more effectively than ramipril. He noted that through the ASPIRE HIGHER programme, “we hope to further demonstrate significant blood pressure lowering in special populations as well as examine the organ protection potential of Rasilez."

That programme involves more than 35,000 patients in 14 trials and in addition to hypertension studies in specific patient populations, it is investigating the potential heart and kidney protection benefits of Rasilez.