This medicine is to help lower high blood pressure.
What is Rasilez used for?
- High blood pressure with no known cause (essential hypertension).
How does Rasilez work?
- Rasilez tablets contain the active ingredient aliskiren, which is a type of medicine called a renin inhibitor. It works by preventing the action of an enzyme in the body called renin.
- Normally renin helps the body make a compound called angiotensin I, and this is converted into angiotensin II as part of the body's natural control of blood pressure. Angiotensin II causes blood vessels to tighten and narrow, which increases the blood pressure.
- By blocking the action of renin, aliskiren reduces the production of angiotensin I and II. This allows the blood vessels to relax and widen, which lowers blood pressure.
How do I take Rasilez?
- The dose prescribed depends on how well your blood pressure is controlled.
What should I know before taking Rasilez?
- Blood pressure lowering medicines such as Rasilez can sometimes make you feel dizzy or weary. If affected you should avoid performing potentially hazardous tasks such as driving or operating machinery. If you feel dizzy this can usually be relieved by lying down until the symptoms pass. Any dizziness may be made worse by drinking alcohol. If you frequently feel dizzy you should let your doctor know, as your dose of this medicine may need adjusting.
- The most common side effect associated with Rasilez is diarrhoea. If you get diarrhoea that becomes severe or doesn't go away you should consult your doctor.
- Your blood pressure, kidney function and the amount of potassium in your blood should be regularly monitored while you are taking this medicine.
- This medicine may rarely cause an allergic reaction called angioedema. Stop taking Rasilez and consult your doctor immediately if you experience difficulty breathing or swallowing, or swelling of your face, lips, tongue, throat, hands, feet or ankles while taking this medicine.
Who shouldn't take Rasilez?
- People with a history of swelling of the lips, face or tongue (angioedema) with no known cause, or caused by previous use of aliskiren.
- People with an inherited condition called hereditary angioneurotic oedema, which causes nettle-type rash and swelling around the eyes, mouth or hands.
- People with diabetes or kidney problems who are taking an ACE inhibitor or angiotensin receptor blocker medicine.
- People with severe kidney problems.
- Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Children under six years of age.
- People who are allergic to any of ingredients of the medicine. If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop taking Rasilez and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.
Rasilez should be used with caution in
- People with heart disease, such as heart failure.
- People with kidney disease or decreased kidney function.
- People with narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to the kidneys (renal artery stenosis).
- People with liver disease.
- People with diabetes.
- People with low salt or fluid volume in the body, eg due to high-dose diuretic therapy, low-salt diet, or severe blood loss, diarrhoea, vomiting or dehydration.
- People with a history of allergies, particularly allergic reactions involving swelling of the lips, face or tongue (angioedema).
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Certain medicines should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, other medicines may be safely used in pregnancy or breastfeeding providing the benefits to the mother outweigh the risks to the unborn baby. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, before using any medicine.
- The safety of aliskiren for use during pregnancy has not been established, however there is potential that it could be harmful to a developing baby. Rasilez should not be used during pregnancy, in particular during the second and third trimesters. If you get pregnant while taking this medicine you should stop taking it and seek medical advice from your doctor.
- It is not known if aliskiren passes into breast milk. The manufacturer states that it is not recommended for women who are breastfeeding. Seek further medical advice from your doctor.
What are the possible side effects of Rasilez?
Medicines and their possible side effects can affect individual people in different ways. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with aliskiren. Just because a side effect is stated here does not mean that all people using Rasilez will experience that or any side effect.
Common (affect between 1 in 10 and 1 in 100 people)
- Pain in the joints.
- Increase in the amount of potassium in the blood (hyperkalaemia).
Uncommon (affect between 1 in 100 and 1 in 1000 people)
- Swollen ankles due to fluid retention (peripheral oedema).
- Low blood pressure (hypotension).
- Awareness of your heartbeat (palpitations).
- Decreased kidney function or acute kidney failure.
- Raised liver enzymes.
- Rash, itching or hives.
- Severe allergic skin reactions, including Stevens Johnson syndrome or toxic epidermal necrolysis.
Rare (affect between 1 in 1000 people and 1 in 10,000 people)
- Severe swelling of lips, face, tongue, throat, hands, feet or ankles (an allergic reaction called angioedema) - see what should I know above.
- Other severe allergic reactions.
If you want any more information about the possible side effects of Rasilez you should talk to your doctor or pharmacist, or read the leaflet that comes with the medicine. If you think you have experienced a side effect, did you know you can report this using the yellow card website?
Can I take other medicines with Rasilez?
It is important to tell your doctor or pharmacist what medicines you are already taking, including those bought without a prescription and herbal medicines, before you start treatment with Rasilez. Similarly, check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any new medicines with Rasilez, to make sure that the combination is safe.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, eg indometacin, aspirin, ibuprofen, diclofenac, naproxen) may reduce the blood pressure lowering effect of aliskiren. If you have any existing kidney problems, for example due to dehydration or old age, taking this type of painkiller with aliskiren may also worsen your kidney problems. Don't take this type of painkiller with Rasilez unless it is recommended by your doctor.