1 What is Benicar?

Brand: Benicar

Generic: Olmesartan

Olmesartan, also known and sold under the trade name of Benicar, belongs to the group of drugs known as angiotensin receptor blockers. It works by blocking the substance that makes the blood vessels to tighten, and that way it relaxes the blood vessels and helps the blood flow. It is used alone or in a combination to treat high blood pressure (hypertension). If high pressure persists for a long time it can cause damage to the brain, heart, and kidneys, with a result of strokes and heart attacks. 

2 What to Know Before Using

The decision to start the treatment with Olmesartan is a decision that you and your doctor will have to make together, after you get informed about all the beneficial effects as well as the potential side effects and risks. The beneficial effects must outweigh the potential risks. But, you as well have to inform your doctor about:

  • Allergies – Inform your doctor if you have ever had an allergic reaction to this medicine (if used before) or to other medicines from the group of angiotensin receptor blockers, or to any kind of medicines. Also, inform the healthcare professional about any allergies to fabric, dye or any specific food.
  • Pediatric – There are studies because of which Olmesartan is not recommended to be used within children younger than 1 year. Also, Olmesartan has been proven not to be effective when used within children younger than 6 years of age. For older children, proven studies have not shown any age-connected problems.
  • Geriatric – Proven studies have not shown any age-connected problems which would decrease the usefulness of Olmesartan if used within geriatric patients.
  • Pregnancy – Inform your doctor if you are pregnant or have any plans about pregnancy in the near future. Studies have shown that there is a high risk to the infant if this medicine is used during pregnancy, because of what it should be only used after all the other known medicines to treat this condition have been proven ineffective.
  • Breastfeeding – Inform your doctor if you are breastfeeding. There are no studies that confirm if this medicine is extracted in the milk, because of that it should be only used if the benefits outweigh the potential side effects.
  • Drug interactions – Inform your doctor about any other medicines that you are using at the moment, prescribed or no prescribed, even vitamins and herbal tea. Some medicines should not be used in a certain combinations with others, because of the possibility that certain interactions can occur. But, sometimes the doctor may decide to use some combinations of drugs to treat your condition. For example, using Olmesartan is not recommended to be used in a combination with Aliskiren. Using Olmesartan in a combination with any of the following medicines is not usually recommended, but the doctor may prescribe it anyway, if the benefits outweigh the potential risks: Benazepril, Fosinopril, Lithium, Lisinopril and others.
  • Other interactions – During the treatment with Olmesartan, the doctor may recommend a special diet or advise you to discontinue your usage of tobacco or alcohol. The doctor may advise you to lower the level of sodium (salt) in the food and start exercising.
  • Other medical problems – Inform your doctor about your medical history, any other medical conditions and problems present in the past or at the moment, especially:

3 Proper Usage

This medication is usually used in a form of a tablet, but it can be also used in a liquid form. It is taken orally, usually once daily. If you are using the tablet form, do not chew or break the tablet. Swallow it with water. If you are using the liquid form be careful when you are dosing the medication, using a proper measuring device. The dose is directed by the doctor, based on your condition and the response to the treatment. If it happens to miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. Do not double it. It you suspect an overdose, contact your doctor right away. 

4 Precautions to take

Make sure you visit your doctor at your scheduled appointments in order to check your condition and make any necessary changes in the dosage. Inform the doctor if you notice any side effects. Inform the doctor about any allergic reactions that you may have experienced while using other medications.

The product may contain an inactive substance that may occur certain interactions. The doctor will probably decide not to treat you with this medicine if you are currently pregnant, because of the possibility that it can harm your unborn baby.

The best decision is to use a proven form of birth control in order to prevent pregnancy during the treatment with Olmesartan. If you are a nursing mother, the doctor may decide not to treat you with this product. Within nursing mothers it should be only used if the beneficial effects outweigh the potential risks.

This medicine may make you dizzy, because of this avoid driving or any activities that require alertness during the treatment. During the treatment with Olmesartan, contact your doctor before you use any other medicines. 

5 Potential Side Effects

Along with the beneficial effects there is a possibility that certain side effects may occur. It is very important to get inform about the potential side effects so that you would be able to notice its presence and inform your doctor right away. After that, the doctor may decide to discontinue your usage of Olmesartan or advise you on how to proceed with the treatment, regarding the side effects.

  • Serious side effects – fainting, symptoms of a high potassium blood level (muscle weakness, irregular heartbeat), unusual decrease in the amount of urine, severe diarrhea.
  • Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction – rash, itching/swelling of the hands, feet, face, tongue, severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
  • Less common – chills and fever, headache, sore throat, tightness in the chest, unusual tiredness or weakness, body pains. Other side effects are possible to occur as well. Contact your doctor for an extended list of possible side effects.