Benicar

Generic Name: Olmesartan

  • What is this medication and its most common uses?

    Benicar is a medicine known as an angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB), used alone or in combination with other medications to treat high blood pressure.

  • What should I know when beginning and continuing on this medication?

    How does this medication work?

    Benicar lowers high blood pressure by blocking a chemical in the body that causes blood vessels to narrow. By blocking this chemical, Benicar relaxes and widens your blood vessels, allowing your blood to flow with less resistance.

    What are the beneficial effects of this medication and when should I begin to have results?

    What: By lowering your blood pressure, Benicar may lower your risk of a stroke or a heart attack.

    When: Benicar may start lowering your blood pressure within 1 week. Though you may not feel an improvement or change in the way you feel, it is very important to keep taking your medicine as prescribed to keep your condition under control.

    How do I know it is working?

    Check your blood pressure regularly. Your healthcare provider will also check your blood pressure at every visit. Following an appropriate diet and exercise plan will also affect your blood pressure results.

  • What are the possible side effects of this medication?

    The following is not a full list of side effects. Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Only your healthcare provider can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this medication.

    Benicar can harm your unborn baby. Talk to your healthcare provider about other ways to lower your blood pressure if you plan to become pregnant. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you become pregnant while taking Benicar.

    More common side effects may include: dizziness.

    Less common side effects may include:

    Low blood pressure with symptoms such as dizziness or feeling faint. This is most likely to happen if you also take water pills, are on a low-salt diet, get dialysis treatment, have heart problems, or get sick with vomiting or diarrhea. If you feel faint or dizzy, lie down and call your healthcare provider right away.

    Kidney problems with symptoms such as swelling in your feet, ankles, or hands; or unexplained weight gain.

    Benicar may cause severe, long-term diarrhea with weight loss.

  • Who should not take this medication?

    Do not take Benicar if you are allergic to it or any of its ingredients.

    If you are diabetic, do not take Benicar in combination with aliskiren.

  • What should I tell my healthcare provider before I take the first dose of this medication?

    Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Benicar. Also, talk to your healthcare provider about your complete medical history, especially if you have diabetes, kidney or heart problems, or if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What is the usual dosage?

    The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your healthcare provider uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your healthcare provider may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your healthcare provider's approval.

    Adults: The recommended starting dose is 20 milligrams once a day. Your healthcare provider may increase your dose as needed until the desired effect is achieved.

    Children 6-16 years: Your healthcare provider will prescribe the appropriate dose for your child, based on their weight.

  • How should I take this medication?

    Take Benicar exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not change your dose or stop taking Benicar without first talking to your healthcare provider.

    Take Benicar with or without food.

    If you take a cholesterol-lowering medicine called colesevelam, take Benicar at least 4 hours before you take this medicine.

    If your child cannot swallow tablets, or if tablets are not available in the prescribed strength, your pharmacist will prepare a liquid suspension using Benicar tablets. Refrigerate the bottle and shake well before giving the medicine to your child.

  • What should I avoid while taking this medication?

    Do not become pregnant while taking this medication.

  • What are the possible food and drug interactions associated with this medication?

    If Benicar is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your healthcare provider before combining Benicar with the following: aliskiren, blood pressure/heart medications called angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors (such as captopril or lisinopril), colesevelam, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (such as ibuprofen or naproxen).

  • May I receive this medication if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    Do not take Benicar if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Benicar can harm your unborn baby. Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of this medication?

    If you miss a dose of Benicar, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and return to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take two doses at once.

  • How should I store this medication?

    Store at room temperature.

Meet the Pharmacists

I'm Beth Isaac, PharmD. Welcome to PDR Health!

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