GENERIC NAME: irbesartan
BRAND NAME: Avapro
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Irbesartan is an oral medication that is used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) and diabetic nephropathy or kidney disease. It belongs to a class of drugs called angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) which also includes valsartan (Diovan), losartan (Cozaar), and candesartan (Atacand). 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 of blood vessels. Angiotensin's attachment to the receptors causes the blood vessels to narrow (vasoconstrict), which leads to an increase in blood pressure (hypertension ). Irbesartan blocks the angiotensin receptor. By blocking the action of angiotensin, irbesartan dilates blood vessels and reduces blood pressure. The FDA approved irbesartan in September 1997.
PRESCRIBED FOR: Irbesartan is used to treat high blood pressure. It may be used alone or in combination with other drugs. Irbesartan also is used for treating nephropathy (kidney failure) in patients with type 2 diabetes.
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