Novartis International AG /
Novartis announces Aliskiren will continue to be available to appropriate
patients, as FDA interim assessment is concluded; product information updated
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* Combination product Valturna® to be voluntarily withdrawn from the US market
as of July 20, 2012
Basel, Switzerland April 19, 2012 - Novartis announced today that the
Tekturna(®) labels have been updated in the US, following the US Food and Drug
Administration´s (FDA) review of the preliminary findings from the ALTITUDE
The label change includes a contraindication against combined use of aliskiren-
based products with angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or
angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) in patients with diabetes. The FDA has also
requested the inclusion of a warning against the use of aliskiren-based products
in patients with moderate renal (kidney) impairment (eGFR < 60 ml/min) who are
also taking an ACE inhibitor or an ARB. Aliskiren-based products will continue
to be available in the US for the treatment of high blood pressure in
Furthermore, and in consultation with the FDA, Novartis has decided to
voluntarily cease marketing in the US of Valturna(®) (aliskiren and valsartan,
USP), a single pill combination of aliskiren and the ARB valsartan. Valturna
sales in the US represented less than 10% of Aliskiren sales in 2011. Novartis
advises US patients to seek guidance from their prescribing healthcare provider
at their next (non-urgent) visit to determine appropriate alternate therapy.
Novartis has also decided to voluntarily withdraw marketing authorization of the
same combination pill in Switzerland, Rasival(® )(aliskiren and valsartan),
which received marketing approval for export but was not launched.
"These decisions come after extensive discussions with the FDA and Swissmedic, "
said David Epstein, Division Head of Novartis Pharmaceuticals. "Patient safety
continues to be our highest priority and we will continue to work with health
authorities worldwide to provide aliskiren-based products to the most
appropriate patient population who would benefit."
These updates follow the Novartis announcement on February 17, 2012 that the
European Medicines Agency´s (EMA) Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use
(CHMP) concluded the risk-benefit review of Rasilez and combination products
containing aliskiren and confirmed it remains positive in the European Union
(EU) for the treatment of essential hypertension, with label changes.
About Aliskiren-based products in the US
The US Prescribing Information has been updated for Tekturna, Tekturna HCT(®)
(aliskiren and hydrochlorothiazide), Tekamlo(TM) (aliskiren and amlodipine) and
Amturnide(TM) (aliskiren, amlodipine and hydrochlorothiazide).
In view of the importance of controlling high blood pressure and to enable
physicians to transition patients to alternate therapies, Novartis will make
Valturna available in the US until July 20, 2012. Novartis advises patients in
the US to seek guidance from their prescribing healthcare provider at their next
(non-urgent) visit, prior to July 20, 2012, to determine appropriate alternate
therapy. Novartis will communicate to US physicians informing them of the above
ALTITUDE was a multinational study in 8,606 patients from 36 countries
evaluating the potential benefits of aliskiren to reduce the risk of
cardiovascular and renal events in this patient population.
ALTITUDE was the first randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study to
investigate aliskiren for more than one year in a specific population of
patients with type 2 diabetes and renal impairment. These patients are known to
be at high risk of cardiovascular and renal events. In the study, aliskiren was
given in addition to optimal cardiovascular treatment including an angiotensin
converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor or angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB).
Aliskiren was approved in the US and EU in 2007 under the brand names Tekturna
and Rasilez, respectively, for the treatment of hypertension either as
monotherapy or in combination with other medications. It is available in 63
countries. These products remain available for appropriate patients. For
additional information, please visit http://www.novartis.com/newsroom/product-
US Important Safety Information
TEKTURNA, TEKTURNA HCT, TEKAMLO, and AMTURNIDE are indicated for the treatment
of hypertension in adults, to lower blood pressure. Lowering blood pressure
reduces the risk of fatal and nonfatal cardiovascular events, primarily strokes
and myocardial infarctions. Control of high blood pressure should be part of
comprehensive cardiovascular risk management, including, as appropriate, lipid
control, diabetes management, antithrombotic therapy, smoking cessation,
exercise, and limited sodium intake. Many patients will require more than one
drug to achieve blood pressure goals.
AMTURNIDE is not indicated for initial therapy of hypertension
Use TEKTURNA HCT or TEKAMLO as initial therapy in patients who are likely to
need multiple drugs to achieve their blood pressure goals. Switch a patient
whose blood pressure is not adequately controlled with aliskiren or
hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) monotherapy to TEKTURNA HCT. Switch a patient whose
blood pressure is not adequately controlled with aliskiren or amlodipine (or
another dihydropyridine calcium channel blocker [DHP-CCB]) alone to combination
therapy with TEKAMLO.
Use AMTURNIDE for patients not adequately controlled with any two of the
following: aliskiren, DHP-CCB, and thiazide diuretics. Switch a patient who
experiences dose-limiting adverse reactions attributed to an individual
component-while on any dual combination of components of AMTURNIDE-to AMTURNIDE
at a lower dose of that component to achieve similar blood pressure reductions.
TEKTURNA HCT, TEKAMLO, and AMTURNIDE may be substituted for their titrated
Safety and efficacy of aliskiren in pediatric patients have not been
Base the choice of TEKTURNA HCT or TEKAMLO as initial therapy on an assessment
of potential benefits and risks. Individualize the decision to use a combination
as initial therapy by weighing factors such as baseline blood pressure, the
target goal, and the incremental likelihood of achieving goal with a combination
compared to monotherapy.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
WARNING: AVOID USE IN PREGNANCY
When pregnancy is detected, discontinue TEKTURNA, TEKTURNA HCT, TEKAMLO, or
AMTURNIDE as soon as possible. Drugs that act directly on the renin-angiotensin-
aldosterone system can cause injury and even death to the developing fetus. See
Warnings and Precautions (5.1).
Contraindications: Do not use aliskiren with angiotensin receptor blockers
(ARBs) or ACE inhibitors (ACEIs) in patients with diabetes because of increased
risk of renal impairment, hyperkalemia, and hypotension.
Because of the HCTZ component, TEKTURNA HCT and AMTURNIDE are contraindicated in
patients with anuria or hypersensitivity to sulfonamide-derived drugs like HCTZ.
Hypersensitivity reactions may range from urticaria to anaphylaxis.
Angioedema: Angioedema of the face, extremities, lips, tongue, glottis and/or
larynx has been reported in patients treated with aliskiren and has necessitated
hospitalization and intubation. This may occur at any time during treatment and
has occurred in patients with and without a history of angioedema with ACEIs or
angiotensin receptor antagonists. Discontinue TEKTURNA, TEKTURNA HCT, TEKAMLO,
or AMTURNIDE immediately in patients who develop angioedema, and do not
Hypotension: In patients with an activated renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system
(RAAS), such as volume- and/or salt-depleted patients receiving high doses of
diuretics, symptomatic hypotension may occur in patients receiving RAAS
blockers. Correct these conditions before administering TEKTURNA, TEKTURNA HCT,
TEKAMLO, or AMTURNIDE, or start the treatment under close medical supervision.
Risk of MI or Angina: Rarely, initiation or change to the dose of a calcium
channel blocker has resulted in the increased frequency, duration, or severity
of angina or acute myocardial infarction, particularly in patients with severe
obstructive coronary artery disease.
Impaired Renal Function: Avoid use of TEKTURNA, TEKTURNA HCT, TEKAMLO, or
AMTURNIDE with ARBs or ACEIs in patients with moderate renal impairment (GFR <60
mL/min). Monitor renal function periodically in patients receiving aliskiren, as
changes in renal function, including acute renal failure, can be caused by drugs
that affect the RAAS. Patients whose renal function may depend in part on the
activity of the RAAS (eg, patients with renal artery stenosis, severe heart
failure, post-MI, or volume depletion) or patients receiving ARB, ACEI or NSAID
therapy may be at particular risk for developing acute renal failure on
aliskiren. Consider withholding or discontinuing therapy in patients who develop
a clinically significant decrease in renal function.
Hepatic Considerations: Amlodipine is extensively metabolized by the liver, and
the plasma elimination half-life is 56 hours in patients with impaired hepatic
function. In patients with severe hepatic impairment, start amlodipine at 2.5 mg
per day, a dose not available in TEKAMLO and AMTURNIDE.
Hyperkalemia: Monitor serum potassium periodically in patients receiving
aliskiren. Drugs that affect the RAAS can cause hyperkalemia. Risk factors for
the development of hyperkalemia include renal insufficiency, diabetes, and
combination use of aliskiren with ARBs or ACEIs, NSAIDs, potassium supplements,
or potassium-sparing diuretics.
Cyclosporine, Itraconazole, or Lithium: Avoid use of TEKTURNA, TEKTURNA HCT,
TEKAMLO, or AMTURNIDE with cyclosporine or itraconazole. Additionally, avoid use
of TEKTURNA HCT or AMTURNIDE with lithium.
Important Considerations Due to the HCTZ Component: Hypersensitivity reactions
to HCTZ may occur in patients with or without a history of allergy or bronchial
asthma, but are more likely in those with such a history. Thiazides have been
reported to cause exacerbation or activation of systemic lupus erythematosus.
HCTZ can cause hypokalemia and hyponatremia. Hypomagnesemia can result in
hypokalemia which appears difficult to treat despite potassium repletion. HCTZ
may alter glucose tolerance and raise serum levels of cholesterol and
triglycerides. HCTZ may raise serum uric acid level and may cause or exacerbate
hyperuricemia and precipitate gout in susceptible patients. Monitor calcium
levels in patients with hypercalcemia receiving TEKTURNA HCT or AMTURNIDE, as
HCTZ may cause elevations of serum calcium.
HCTZ, a sulfonamide, can cause an idiosyncratic reaction resulting in transient
myopia and angle-closure glaucoma. Symptoms include acute onset of decreased
visual acuity or ocular pain and typically occur within hours to weeks of drug
initiation. Discontinue HCTZ as rapidly as possible in these patients. Risk
factors for developing acute angle-closure glaucoma may include a history of
sulfonamide or penicillin allergy.
Common AEs: Adverse events (AE) with increased rates for TEKTURNA compared with
placebo included: diarrhea (2.3% vs 1.2%), cough (1.1% vs 0.6%), rash (1.0% vs
0.3%), elevated uric acid (0.4% vs 0.1%), gout (0.2% vs 0.1%), and renal stones
(0.2% vs 0%).
Adverse events with increased rates for TEKTURNA HCT compared with placebo
included: dizziness (2.3% vs 1.0%), influenza (2.3% vs 1.6%), diarrhea (1.6% vs
0.5%), cough (1.3% vs 0.5%), vertigo (1.2% vs 0.5%), asthenia (1.2% vs 0%), and
arthralgia (1.0% vs 0.5%).
The AE in a placebo-controlled trial that occurred in at least 2% of patients
treated with TEKAMLO and at a higher incidence than placebo was peripheral edema
(6.2% vs 1.0%). The incidence of peripheral edema at high dose was 8.9%.
The most common AEs in a short-term controlled trial that occurred in at least
2% of patients treated with AMTURNIDE were peripheral edema (7.1%), dizziness
(3.6%), headache (3.6%), and nasopharyngitis (2.6%).
The foregoing release contains forward-looking statements that can be identified
by terminology such as "to be withdrawn, " "will, " "potential, " or similar
expressions, or by express or implied discussions regarding potential future
revenues from Tekturna. You should not place undue reliance on these
statements. Such forward-looking statements reflect the current views of
management regarding future events, and involve known and unknown risks,
uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results with Tekturna to
be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements
expressed or implied by such statements. There can be no guarantee that Tekturna
will achieve any particular levels of revenue in the future. In particular,
management´s expectations regarding Tekturna could be affected by, among other
things, unexpected clinical trial results, including unexpected new clinical
data and unexpected additional analysis of existing clinical data; unexpected
regulatory actions or delays or government regulation generally; competition in
general; government, industry and general public pricing pressures; unexpected
manufacturing issues; the company´s ability to obtain or maintain patent or
other proprietary intellectual property protection; the impact that the
foregoing factors could have on the values attributed to the Novartis Group´s
assets and liabilities as recorded in the Group´s consolidated balance sheet,
and other risks and factors referred to in Novartis AG´s current Form 20-F on
file with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Should one or more of these
risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove
incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those anticipated, believed,
estimated or expected. Novartis is providing the information in this press
release as of this date and does not undertake any obligation to update any
forward-looking statements contained in this press release as a result of new
information, future events or otherwise.
Novartis provides innovative healthcare solutions that address the evolving
needs of patients and societies. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis
offers a diversified portfolio to best meet these needs: innovative medicines,
eye care, cost-saving generic pharmaceuticals, preventive vaccines and
diagnostic tools, over-the-counter and animal health products. Novartis is the
only global company with leading positions in these areas. In 2011, the Group´s
continuing operations achieved net sales of USD 58.6 billion, while
approximately USD 9.6 billion (USD 9.2 billion excluding impairment and
amortization charges) was invested in R&D throughout the Group. Novartis Group
companies employ approximately 124,000 full-time-equivalent associates and
operate in more than 140 countries around the world. For more information,
please visit http://www.novartis.com.
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