Suppressed baseline plasma renin activity (PRA) levels or large reactive increases in renin secretion are two possible reasons for treatment failure with antirenin system drugs.METHODS:
To investigate their prevalence we reanalyzed data from three published clinical trials of the renin inhibitor aliskiren.RESULTS:
Aliskiren failed to lower systolic blood pressure (SBP) by at least 10 mm Hg in half of all patients. It was very effective in two-thirds of medium- to high-renin patients (-19 mm Hg). But BP did not fall in most low-renin patients, or in 30% of medium- to high-renin patients. BP actually rose by >10 mm Hg in 5% of patients taking aliskiren and in >10% of patients when aliskiren was added to an angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB) or angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor (ACEI). PRA changed in parallel with BP. Although PRA fell in most patients, it actually rose in 5% and in up to 30% when aliskiren was added to an ARB or ACEI.CONCLUSIONS:
There are two reasons for treatment failure with aliskiren. Many hypertensive patients have large BP falls. But, BP does not fall in most low-renin patients or in medium- to high-renin patients whose PRA levels do not fall sufficiently. If the concept of that treatment resistance is caused by excessive reactive increases in renin secretion is confirmed, then a PRA determination during treatment could be used to guide subsequent addition or subtraction of either natriuretic or antirenin drug types, to thereby correct BP and reduce cardiovascular risk.