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Healthcare

UPDATE 1-Novartis gets FDA OK for blood pressure treatment

* FDA approves Teklamo, combination of Tekturna, amlodipine

* Novartis says pill reduces high blood pressure better

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ZURICH, Aug 27 (Reuters) - Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG NOVN.VX received U.S. approval for a new treatment of high blood pressure, broadening the use of Tekturna, the successor to the group's best-selling drug, Diovan.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Tekamlo tablets, a single-pill treatment of high blood pressure combining Tekturna with the widely used calcium channel blocker amlodipine, the Swiss group said on Friday.

Studies showed Tekamlo significantly reduced blood pressure compared to amlodipine or Tekturna alone, Novartis said.

Tekturna is from a new class of drugs that works by directly blocking the hormone renin. Other hypertension drugs also work on the renin-angiotensin system, which regulates blood pressure.

Tekturna’s success is key for Novartis as Diovan -- also a high blood pressure treatment -- loses patent protection in 2012.

The group said an estimated 1 billion people globally have high blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, the top cause of death globally.

If left untreated, high blood pressure can cause strokes, heart attacks, heart failure and organ damage, including kidney failure and vision problems.

In a separate release, Novartis said Swiss authorities approved its leukemia drug Tasigna for adults with newly diagnosed Philadelphia chromosome-positive chronic myeloid leukemia (Ph+ CML) in chronic phase. (Reporting by Sven Egenter; Editing by Michael Shields)

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