Olmesartan and Hydrocholorothiazide, also known and sold under the trade name of Benicar HCT, is a product which is a combination of two medicines:
Olmesartan, known to be an angiotensin receptor blocker which helps blood flow by relaxing the blood vessels.
Hydrochlorothiazide, which is a diuretic, that increases the level of urine that the body produces and that way helping the body to get rid of extra water and sodium (salt).
This combination is used in the treatment of high blood pressure (hypertension). By decreasing the blood pressure it helps preventing heart attacks, strokes and kidney problems.
2 What to Know Before Using
The decision to start the treatment with this product is a decision that you have to make together with your doctor, after you get properly informed about the expected beneficial effects and potential side effects and risks as well. In the decision-making process the most important thing is – the beneficial effects must outweigh the potential risks. Make sure you inform your doctor about:
Allergies – Inform your doctor about any allergic reactions that you have had in the past while using this medication (if used before) or to any other medication, especially from the group of angiotensin receptor blockers. Also, inform the healthcare professional about any allergic reactions to any specific food, dye, fabric and etc.
Pediatric – Because there are no studies done that would consider the possible side effects and benefits from using this product within pediatric patients, safety is no guaranteed.
Geriatric – Studies have shown that there are no age-connected problems when this product is used within geriatric patients. However, the elderly have an increased risk for kidney problems, heart problems, liver problems and increased sensitivity. Because of this, when this product is used within geriatric patients it is important to be used with caution.
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 risk to the fetus if this medication is used during the pregnancy. It should be only used in a life-threatening condition or if the beneficial effects outweigh the potential risks.
Breastfeeding – Inform your doctor if you are currently breastfeeding. There are no studies which show if this medication is extracted in the milk. Because of this, it is not recommended to be used within nursing mothers. An exception could be made only in a life-threatening condition or if the beneficial effects outweigh the potential risk.
Drug interactions – Inform your doctor if you are using any other medications at the moment, prescribed or no prescribed, even vitamins and herbal tea. Certain medications should not be used in a combination with others. However, in some cases the doctor may consider certain combinations to be proven useful in the treatment. For example, using this product in a combination with Aliskiren or Dofetilide is not recommended. Also, the combination with Digitalis, Fosinopril, Ketanserin and many others is not usually recommended but it can be used under the doctor’s directions.
Other interactions – Get advised if there is a need for you to follow any special diet, or discontinue your usage of tobacco or alcohol. Certain medications are no recommended to be used in a combination with a specific food, tobacco or alcohol. While on the treatment with this product, the doctor will probably advise you to start a diet with lower levels of sodium (salt) and start exercising.
Other medical problems – Inform your doctor about your medical history, any other medical problems that you have had in the past or are still present at the moment. Especially, inform the doctor if there is a:
This product is in the form of a tablet, taken orally, usually once daily. Do not chew or break the tablet. Follow the directions from your doctor, and stick with the schedule. The dosage is based on your condition and the prognosis. To help you to remember to take it every day, it is best to take it every day at the same time. If it happens to miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. Do not double it. If you suspect and overdose, contact your doctor right away for further directions.
4 Precautions to Take
Remember to visit your doctor at your scheduled appointments, so that the doctor can check the prognosis of your condition and make any necessary adjustments if needed. The doctor may decide to discontinue the treatment if there are serious side effects or no progress in the treatment.
It is very important to inform the doctor about any allergic reactions that you may have to any medications used before. This is necessary because the product may contain inactive substances which could cause interactions to occur.
If you are suffering from diabetes, this product may increase the level of blood sugar, so remember to make blood tests regularly during this treatment. This product may make you dizzy so it is for the best to avoid driving and any other activities which would require alertness.
This treatment is not recommended to be used during a pregnancy, because of the proven risk to the fetus. Use a proven form of birth control while on the treatment with this product. Also, using this product within nursing mothers is not recommended because there are no studies that would confirm the safety of the product.
5 Potential Side Effects
Along with the beneficial effects, some potential side effects are to be expected as well. Not all people experience side effects, and also not all side effects are serious. Some side effects are just appearing in the time which the body needs to adjust on the presence of the medication. But, make sure you get informed about the potential side effects so that you will be able to recognize their presence and consult your doctor right away.
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