What is candesartan, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
Candesartan cilexetil (candesartan) is a
drug used for treating high blood pressure (hypertension). It is in a class of
drugs called angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) which includes losartan (Cozaar),
valsartan (Diovan), and irbesartan (Avapro). Angiotensin, formed in the blood by
the action of angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE), is a powerful chemical that
attaches to angiotensin receptors found in many tissues but primarily on smooth
muscle cells surrounding blood vessels. Angiotensin’s attachment to the
receptors causes the muscle cells to contract and the blood vessels to narrow (vasoconstrict)
which leads to an increase in blood pressure. Candesartan blocks the
angiotensin receptor and therby prevents the action of angiotensin. As a
result blood vessels expand and blood pressure is reduced. Candesartan was
approved by the FDA in 1998.
What brand names are available for candesartan?
Is candesartan available as a generic drug?
GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes
Do I need a prescription for candesartan?
What are the side effects of candesartan?
The most common side effects of candesartan are:
Other important side effects include:
Salt and sodium are the same.
What is the dosage for candesartan?
The recommended dose range of candesartan for adults is 4 to
32 mg once daily. The usual starting dose for hypertension is 16 mg daily, and
the starting dose for treating heart failure is 4 mg once daily. Doses may be
doubled at 2 week intervals as tolerated by patients. The maximum dose is 32 mg
Which drugs or supplements interact with candesartan?
Since ARBs can increase the concentrations of
potassium in the blood, combining candesartan with other medications that can
increase the concentration of potassium in the blood, such as hydrodiuril (Dyazide),
spironolactone (Aldactone), and potassium supplements, may lead to
increases in potassium blood levels. Combining candesartan or other ARBs with
nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in patients who are elderly,
fluid-depleted (including those on diuretic therapy), or with poor kidney
function may result in reduced kidney function, including kidney failure. These
effects usually are reversible. There have been reports that aspirin and other
NSAIDs such as ibuprofen (Advil, Children’s Advil/Motrin, Medipren, Motrin,
Nuprin, PediaCare Fever, etc.), indomethacin (Indocin, Indocin-SR), and naproxen
(Anaprox, Naprelan, Naprosyn, Aleve) may reduce the effects of ARBs. An increase
(Eskolith, Lithobid) blood levels has been reported when lithium is combined with candesartan. Careful monitoring of lithium levels is recommended when
candesartan and lithium are used concomitantly.
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Is candesartan safe to take if I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?
When used in the second or third trimester of
pregnancy, ARBs can cause injury and even death to the fetus. Candesartan should not be
used during pregnancy. When pregnancy is first detected, candesartan should be
It is not known whether candesartan is secreted in
human milk. Candesartan is secreted in rat milk. Due to the possibility of harm
to the nursing infant, if possible, candesartan should be discontinued by
What else should I know about candesartan?
What preparations of candesartan are available?
Tablets: 4, 8, 16, and 32 mg.
How should I keep candesartan stored?
Tablets should be stored at room temperature, between 15-30 C (59-86 F).