Olmesartan (Benicar), an angiotensin II receptor blocker, is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of high blood pressure. In studies, the medicine lowered both systolic and diastolic levels (the two values that make up a blood pressure reading).
Angiotensin II is a chemical in the body that causes blood vessels to constrict, leading to an increase in blood pressure. Olmesartan lowers blood pressure by blocking the action of this chemical. There are many other angiotensin II receptor blockers available, like irbesartan (Avapro) and losartan (Cozaar).
Olmesartan can be taken alone or in combination with other high blood pressure medicines. Most people may need to take a combination of drugs (eg, olmesartan with a thiazide medicine) to achieve their target blood pressure.
More About Olmesartan
What Is the Dosage?
Olmesartan is taken once a day as an oral tablet. Doses of 20 milligrams (mg) or 40 mg per day may be the most effective for treating high blood pressure.
Who Is Olmesartan For?
Benicar is for adults and children (aged 6-16 years) who have high blood pressure.
What Are the Side Effects?
Most people tolerate olmesartan well. Common side effects may include:
- Back pain
What Are the Potential Risks?
Two studies found a possible increased risk of death from heart attack or stroke in people with type 2 diabetes who took olmesartan. In 2011, the FDA reviewed these results and concluded that the benefits of taking olmesartan outweigh the possible risks for the treatment of high blood pressure.
Is Olmesartan for You?
High blood pressure, one of the most common conditions in the US, is especially dangerous because it rarely produces symptoms and, if not treated, can lead to heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure. The positive news is that high blood pressure can often be controlled by eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and taking medicines. If you are having difficulty controlling your blood pressure with lifestyle changes, talk to your doctor about what types of medicines are available. Depending on your overall health, olmesartan may be recommended for you.
- Reviewer: Brian Randall, MD
- Review Date: 07/2011 -
- Update Date: 07/13/2011 -