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New blood pressure treatment in the making

17th May 2006

Pharmaceutical firm Novartis claims tests have been positive for a new drug to treat high blood pressure.

Rasilez, an oral drug that inhibits renin, has been shown to lower blood pressure significantly over a 24-hour period, meaning the common surges in blood pressure during the early hours of the morning can be kept in check.

The substance, also known as aliskiren, has been found to be effective both when taken alone and when combined with the diuretic hydrochlorothiazide.

"Sustained 24-hour control is particularly important because blood pressure fluctuates during the day and often surges in the early morning hours," commented lead investigator Dr Jerry Mitchell from the Texas Center for Drug Development.

"Patients need to control their blood pressure around the clock, and our study shows that aliskiren can provide that control."

If Rasilez receives approval it will be the first new approach for the condition, which is thought to affect over one billion people globally, in over a decade.