Novartis Terminates Study in Type 2 Diabetes Patients


Novartis has decided to terminate the ALTITUDE study evaluating the potential benefits of Rasilez/Tekturna (aliskiren) in reduction of risk of cardiovascular and renal events in patients with type 2 diabetes and renal impairment.  

The decision to terminate the trial was made on the recommendation of the independent Data Monitoring Committee (DMC) overseeing the trial. The DMC concluded that patients were unlikely to benefit from treatment added on top of standard anti-hypertensives, and identified higher adverse events in patients receiving Rasilez/Tekturna in addition to standard of care in the trial. Specifically, in the trial arm in which Rasilez/Tekturna was added to the standard of care there was an increased incidence after 18-24 months of non-fatal stroke, renal complications, hyperkalemia and hypotension in this high-risk study population.
The placebo-controlled Phase III ALTITUDE study is the first trial to investigate Rasilez/Tekturna 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, Rasilez/Tekturna was given in addition to optimal cardiovascular treatment including an angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor or angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB).
Novartis is in ongoing discussions with health authorities worldwide about the implications of the findings from ALTITUDE for patients. As a precautionary measure Novartis will cease promotion of Rasilez/Tekturna-based products for use in combination with an ACE-inhibitor or ARB. 
Novartis is recommending that ALTITUDE investigators remove Rasilez/Tekturna-based products from their patients’ treatment regimen and review their high blood pressure medication. Novartis is also reviewing the findings with DMCs of other clinical studies involving Rasilez/Tekturna-based products and combination therapies. 
Patients in ALTITUDE should contact their study site for guidance on medication and should not stop treatment until they have seen their physician in view of the importance of controlling high blood pressure. Any patients using Rasilez/Tekturna or other aliskiren combination products who may have questions about their medication should consult their healthcare provider. 
Total sales of Rasilez/Tekturna-based products for the first nine months of 2011 were USD 449 million (1% of Novartis Group sales) and are likely to be negatively impacted by the study results going forward. Product profitability in 2011 was negative. A further update of the actual financial implications will be communicated when the regulatory dialogue has been concluded.


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