Objective To examine the safety of using aliskiren combined with agents used to block the renin-angiotensin system.
Design Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials.
Data sources Medline, Embase, the Cochrane Library, and two trial registries, published up to 7 May 2011.
Study selection Published and unpublished randomised controlled trials that compared combined treatment using aliskiren and angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers with monotherapy using these agents for at least four weeks and that provided numerical data on the adverse event outcomes of hyperkalaemia and acute kidney injury. A random effects model was used to calculate pooled risk ratios and 95% confidence intervals for these outcomes.
Results 10 randomised controlled studies (4814 participants) were included in the analysis. Combination therapy with aliskiren and angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers significantly increased the risk of hyperkalaemia compared with monotherapy using angiotensin converting enzymes or angiotensin receptor blockers (relative risk 1.58, 95% confidence interval 1.24 to 2.02) or aliskiren alone (1.67, 1.01 to 2.79). The risk of acute kidney injury did not differ significantly between the combined therapy and monotherapy groups (1.14, 0.68 to 1.89).
Conclusion Use of aliskerin in combination with angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers is associated with an increased risk for hyperkalaemia. The combined use of these agents warrants careful monitoring of serum potassium levels.