Evan Levine, M.D.

Healthcare - A behind the scenes look

Dr. Evan Levine

Dr. Evan Levine
Birthday
March 17
Bio
Author of What Your Doctor Won't (or Can't) Tell You - Penguin Publishing. Fellow of American College of Cardiology and practicing cardiologist in Bronx and Westchester New York. Today Show Interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63cWvtGPonU Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/vanlev

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DECEMBER 21, 2011 11:23PM

Tekturna drug combination found harmful!

Rate: 7 Flag
     A few years ago I received a call from my uncle, a diabetic,  after he visited his endocrinologist.  She had prescribed a new and expensive drug called Tekturna in addition to his other standard blood pressure medication, Avapro, to help reduce the amount of protein in his urine and possibly help reduce his risk of developing kidney failure.
     I had recalled the problems in heart failure patients when two similar drugs ( although they were not Tekturna)  were added together, reviewed the data, and told him not to take it.  There was no long term studies with this Tekturna combination, no evidence that the combination of these two drugs ( Tekturna with an ARB drug or an ACEI drug) could reduce kidney failure or reduce mortality, and I worried if the addition of this drug to his current medications might increase the chance of a dangerous elevated potassium level or a low blood pressure.
     But a month or so later my uncle called again. His endocrinologist assured him the drug was safe and that I could be responsible for causing his kidneys to fail one day.  She even mentioned that her husband had been one of the physicians who did the research on the drug and again assured him he was making a big mistake by listening to me.

     This week the data and monitoring committee for a major trial , known as the Altitude trial, a trial that put patients on the same combination of drugs my uncle would have taken, had I not intervened, closed the trial.     They  noted an increased incidence, after 18 to 24 months, of non-fatal stroke, renal complications, high potassium levels, and hypotension in those taking the drug Tekturna with the same type of drug my uncle was on.

      The unfortunate and frightening results of this trial led Novartis to stop promoting the use of Tekturna with the drugs like my uncle is taking.
If you are taking Tekturna with drugs known as Angiotensin Receptor Blockers (ARBs) or Angiotensin Converting Enzyme Inhibitors ( ACEI) I urge you to call your physician immediately. There are likely thousands of patients on this harmful combination of medication and they need to know that they might be at risk .   Perhaps I should   find  the e-mail of my uncle's endocrinologist and send her this blog.

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Comments

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No surprise, but disgust anyway.
It's too bad the general public doesn't have privy to the knowledge that the trial was closed and why. You know the lawyers will be on top of this one! Thanks for letting us know about this.
Some of these modern medicines really make me sick. Thanks for the warning.
Guinea pigs all! Thanks for this revelation.
I cringe everytime I get a new order from the physicians, and I breathe a sigh of relief when I see there are no trendy new drugs with questionable studies. Patients rarely ask what's going to happen when you mix all these drugs together!
Wow. Great post! Thanks for sharing your experience and latest medical findings, Dr.! How fortunate for your uncle that you checked into it.
Just to add to the Tekturna mess and another insult to the ASS who suggested I would hurt my uncle , a diabetic, if I did not add Tekturna to his medication: A study in patients with heart disease showed that adding Tekturna to patients with diabetes killed more of them!