Aims:  The ‘DRIVER’ study was designed to investigate the ‘real-world’ effectiveness of aliskiren-based treatment of hypertension. This article reports the 180-day blood pressure (BP) outcomes, and the multilevel (physician- and patient-level) determinants thereof.

Methods and results:  DRIVER was a prospective, observational, open-label, multi-centre, pharmaco-epidemiologic study of hypertensive patients treated with aliskiren in whom prior treatment failed or was not tolerated. 2070 patients (enrolled by 426 physicians) were enrolled; 1695 patients (81.9%) completed the 180-day aliskiren treatment period. Mean patient age was 64.2 ± 12.1 years; 53.7% were men, 25.3% diabetic and 40.7% had a high or very high cardiovascular (CV) risk. At 180 days, the mean ± SD reductions in systolic and diastolic BP were −22.9 ± 16.7 mmHg and −10.5 ± 10.9 mmHg respectively (both p < .001). 2007 and 2009 guideline-defined BP control was achieved in 36.4% and 56.3% of patients, respectively (both p < .001). 64.2% of eligible patients had a reduction in CV risk (p < .001). A physician-level class effect was responsible for 22.8% and 28.1% of variability in systolic and diastolic BP, respectively, for 20.1% of variability in BP control, and for 16.1% of variability in the reduction of CV risk. Both patient- (e.g. adherence) and physician-related factors (e.g. age and knowledge) were significant in profiling best response to treatment with aliskiren. Adverse events reported in this article were consistent with the aliskiren scientific leaflet.

Conclusion:  Aliskiren is safe and effective in reducing BP, improving BP control and reducing global CV risk in a ‘real-world’ setting and for patients in whom prior treatment failed or was not tolerated. Optimising treatment adherence and strategic medical education may be ways of improving BP outcomes in patients with hypertension.