Novartis says new version of Tekturna approved

The pharmaceutical company Novartis announced that the FDA has approved a newer version of one of its previously approved blood pressure medications, Tekturna. The new drug, Tekturna HCT, combines Tekturna with hydrochlororthiazide, a diuretic; Novartis claims that in combining the two drugs, blood pressure is treated on two different fronts.

Per its website, the company explains that Tekturna, or aliskeren, works on reducing blood pressure by keeping the blood vessels open. The diuretic helps eliminate sodium and excess water from the body, which also works to lower blood pressure.

Novartis has continued a trend among pharmaceuticals to combine two generic drugs that have already been approved and using them in tandem to create a newer, more effective medication. As Alexis Borisy, who has been touted as the industry "matchmaker," told the New York Times, such a revamping of drugs already approved is better business than creating one from scratch. Additionally, the safety standards of the FDA are met more swiftly, as the drugs used have already undergone clinical trials that underscore their safety.

Other "cocktail" pharmaceuticals: Advair, which combines two asthma medications, and Vytorin, which combines cholesterol lowering drugs developed by both Merck and Schering Plough. Contrave, which has just cleared efficacy standards testing with the FDA, is a weight loss drug that combines an anti-depressant and a drug used to fight opiate and alcohol addiction.

Certainly, combining drugs in such a fashion is a cost effective move that will ultimately help the patient. On its website, Novartis claims that more than half of all adults who have high blood pressure need more than one drug as part of a complete treatment plan.

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