Valturna and Pregnancy
Women who are expecting should not take Valturna (aliskiren and valsartan). A pregnancy Category D drug, this medication can cause serious problems when taken during pregnancy, including severe kidney problems, skull problems, and fetal death. It should be avoided unless no other alternatives are available and the mother's life is in danger.
Is It Safe to Take Valturna While Pregnant?Valturna HCT® (aliskiren and valsartan) is a prescription blood pressure medication. It is a combination product, containing aliskiren (Tekturna®) and valsartan (Diovan®). Valturna is generally considered unsafe for use during pregnancy.
In April 2012, it was decided that this medication should no longer be available, due to the risks it poses to people with diabetes or with moderate-to-severe kidney problems. Production will officially cease in July 2012.
What Is Pregnancy Category D?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses a category system to classify the possible risks to a fetus when a specific medicine is taken during pregnancy. Pregnancy Category D is given to medicines that have been shown to present a risk to the fetus in studies of pregnant women but may still offer benefits that outweigh the risks the drug presents.
A pregnancy Category D medicine may still be given to a pregnant woman if the healthcare provider believes that the benefits to the woman outweigh the possible risks to the unborn child.
Pregnancy, Valturna, and the Renin-Angiotensin SystemMany blood pressure medications (including Valturna) work by acting on the renin-angiotensin system. Such medications should be avoided during pregnancy in almost all situations, as they have been shown to cause serious problems, such as:
- Fetal and newborn death
- Low blood pressure of the fetus or newborn
- Skull problems
- Severe kidney problems.
These problems were seen when such medications were used in the second or third trimester. Other problems, such as birth defects, have been reported when these medicines were used in the first trimester.
Medications that work on the renin-angiotensin system, such as Valturna, should never be used during pregnancy unless they are life-saving to the mother and no other alternatives are available.
If you are a woman of childbearing potential, it is very important that you use adequate birth control while taking this medication. If you discover that you are pregnant while taking Valturna, contact your healthcare provider right away. In most cases, your healthcare provider will recommend that you stop taking Valturna and will recommend frequent monitoring to check on the development of the fetus.