- High Blood Pressure Slideshow Pictures
- Take the Salt Quiz!
- Lowering Blood Pressure Exercise Tips Pictures
What are angiotensin receptor blockers, and how do they work?
Angiotensin II is a very potent chemical formed in the blood that causes muscles surrounding blood vessels to contract, thereby narrowing the vessels. This narrowing increases the pressure within the vessels and can cause high blood pressure (hypertension). Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) are medications that block the action of angiotensin II by preventing angiotensin II from binding to angiotensin II receptors on the muscles surrounding blood vessels. As a result, blood vessels enlarge (dilate) and blood pressure is reduced. Reduced blood pressure makes it easier for the heart to pump blood and can improve heart failure. In addition, the progression of kidney disease caused by the high blood pressure or diabetes is slowed. ARBs have effects that are similar to angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, but ACE inhibitors act by preventing the formation of angiotensin II rather than by blocking the binding of angiotensin II to muscles on blood vessels.
For what conditions are ARBs used?
- ARBs are used for controlling high blood pressure, treating heart failure, and preventing kidney failure in people with diabetes or high blood pressure.
- ARGs also may prevent diabetes and reduce the risk of stroke in patients with high blood pressure and an enlarged heart.
- ARBs also may prevent the recurrence of atrial fibrillation.
Since ARB medications have effects that are similar to those of ACE inhibitors, they often are used when ACE inhibitors are not tolerated by patients (for example, due to excessive coughing).
Quick GuideHow to Lower Blood Pressure: Exercise Tips
What are the available ARBs?
The following is a list of currently available ARBs:
Are there any differences among the different types of ARBs?
ARBs are similar in actions and side effects. They differ in how they are eliminated from the body and the extent to which they are distributed throughout the body.
What are the side effects of ARBs?
ARBs are well tolerated by most individuals. The most common side effects are
- elevated potassium levels in the blood (hyperkalemia),
- low blood pressure,
- abnormal taste sensation (metallic or salty taste),
- orthostatic hypotension (low blood pressure upon standing),
- indigestion, and
- upper respiratory tract infection.
Compared to ACE inhibitors, cough occurs less often with ARBs.
Serious side effects of ARBs
- The most serious, but rare, side effects are
- There have been reports of rhabdomyolysis (destruction of skeletal muscle) in patients receiving ARBs.
- Individuals who have narrowing of both arteries that supply the kidneys or have had a severe reaction to ARBs should avoid them.
- Like other antihypertensives, ARBs have been associated with sexual dysfunction.
What about taking ARBs during pregnancy?
ARBs usually are not prescribed for women during pregnancy because they may cause birth defects.
Quick GuideHow to Lower Blood Pressure: Exercise Tips
With which drugs do ARBs interact?
- ARBs have few interactions with other drugs.
- Since ARBs may increase blood levels of potassium, the use of potassium supplements, salt substitutes (which often contain potassium), or other drugs that increase potassium may result in excessive blood potassium levels and cardiac arrhythmias.
- ARBs may also increase the blood concentration of lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid) and lead to an increase in side effects from lithium.
- Rifampin (Rifadin) reduces the blood levels of losartan, and fluconazole (Diflucan) reduces the conversion of losartan to its active form. These effects could decrease the effects of losartan.
- ARBs should not be combined with ACE inhibitors because such combinations increase the risk of hypotension, hyperkalemia, and renal impairment.
- ARBs should not be combined with aliskiren (Tekturna) because such combinations increase the risk of kidney failure, excessive low blood pressure, and hyperkalemia.
FDA Prescribing Information
Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) are a class of drugs prescribed to control blood pressure, treat heart failure, and prevent kidney failure in people with diabetes or high blood pressure. Examples of ARBs include candesartan (Atacand), eprosartan (Teveten), irbesartan (Avapro), telmisartan (Micardis), valsartan (Diovan), losartan (Cozaar), and olmesartan (Benicar). Side effects, drug interactions, and patient safety information should be reviewed prior to taking any medication.
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
Heart Disease: Symptoms, Signs, and Causes
What is heart disease (coronary artery disease)? Learn about the causes of heart disease. Symptoms of heart disease include chest...
High Blood Pressure Symptoms, Causes, Treatments
What causes high blood pressure (hypertension)? Know the warning signs and symptoms of high blood pressure. Read about high blood...
Low Blood Pressure (Hypotension): Symptoms, Signs, Causes
What is low blood pressure (hypotension)? Explore low blood pressure causes, symptoms, and signs. Discover what is considered low...
Am I Having a Heart Attack? Symptoms of Heart Disease
Heart attacks symptoms vary greatly for men and women, from anxiety and fatigue to nausea and sweating. Learn the warning signs...
Healthy Seeds: 11 Edible Super Seeds for Better Nutrition
Are pumpkin seeds good for your health? What's the nutritional value of chia seeds? Find out how to easily incorporate more...
Atrial Fibrillation (A-Fib) Quiz: Test Your Medical IQ
Learn the causes, symptoms, and treatments of the common heart abnormality known as atrial fibrillation (A-fib)....
Protein Quiz: Foods High in Protein
Protein is a staple in our diets, but what happens if we get too much? Take this quiz to find out the truth about protein and...
Superfoods Quiz: List of Top Superfoods
Take our Superfoods Quiz! Get to know how unprocessed, raw, organic foods and healthy drinks are rich in nutrients and dietary...
Sugar Quiz: Facts on Diet & Sugar
Sugar lurks in surprising places. Take the Sugar Quiz to learn of the many ways sugar sneaks into your diet and see what you know...
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) Quiz: Symptoms, Signs & Causes
Take this quiz and test your IQ of high blood pressure (hypertension), the cardiovascular disease that causes most strokes and...
Heart Disease Quiz: Test Your Medical IQ
Take our Heart Disease Quiz to get answers and facts about high cholesterol, atherosclerosis prevention, and the causes,...
Kidney Disease Quiz: Test Your Medical IQ
Kidney disease is common. Take this kidney disease quiz to test your knowledge and learn the symptoms, causes and types of kidney...
Salt Quiz: Test Your Diet IQ
Do you love salt? Take the online Salt Quiz to get the facts about dietary salts and sodium in fruits, vegetables, processed...
Picture of Hypertension
High blood pressure, defined as a repeatedly elevated blood pressure exceeding 140 over 90 mmHg -- a systolic pressure above 140...
Picture of Blood Pressure
The blood pressure is the pressure of the blood within the arteries. See a picture of Blood Pressure and learn more about the...
Heart-Healthy Diet: 25 Foods to Protect Your Cardiovascular System
See 25 foods loaded with heart-healthy nutrients that help protect your cardiovascular system. Plus, find easy meal/recipes and...
Sugar Addiction Facts: Cravings, Hidden Sugar, and More in Pictures
Learn about sugar addiction to see why we often crave sweets and binge on carbs. Learn how sugar affects the brain and get tips...
The Worst Foods in Your Fridge
What are the worst foods to eat in your fridge? From mayonnaise to ice cream and butter to processed lunch meats, learn about the...
Slideshow: High-Fiber Super Foods: Whole Grains, Fruits, & More
Learn about high-fiber foods. From fresh fruits to whole grains, these fiber-rich foods can lower cholesterol, prevent...
Food Swaps for Meals and Snacks for Heart Health in Pictures
Explore 10 food swaps for heart-wise dining. Learn what food to buy and how to cook in order to make a big difference for your...
Snacks With 100 Calories or Less
Reducing calories is an effective weight loss strategy. Here are 25 100-calorie snacks that offer quick, satisfying solutions to...
12 Reasons to Love the Mediterranean Diet in Pictures
The Mediterranean diet is a delicious way to eat healthy. We show you how to get the most from this diet with foods like olive...
19 Secrets Women Wish You Knew With Pictures
There are secrets women would love for you to know. These relationship secrets are based on the study of healthy, happy couples,...
Healthy Eating: 16 Resolutions for Better Habits
Is eating better one of your New Year's resolutions? Get tips for healthier eating habits to incorporate into daily life...
10 Tips for a Healthier Fast Food Diet
Losing weight is tough on the road. Fast food can't compare to the health of a well-planned, balanced diet. But if you must eat...
Tips to Eat Healthy When You Dine Out in Pictures
Recognize the dangers of eating out and stay on your healthy diet at restaurants. Learn about healthy eating at restaurants,...
Related Disease Conditions
Kidney failure can occur from an acute event or a chronic condition or disease. Prerenal kidney failure is caused by blood loss,...
Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) Symptoms, Stages, and Prognosis
Congestive heart failure (CHF) refers to a condition in which the heart loses the ability to function properly. Heart disease,...
Diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2)
Diabetes is a chronic condition characterized by high levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood. The two types of diabetes are...
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
High blood pressure is defined as a pressure of 140/90 mmHg or higher in the arteries. Genetic factors, high salt intake, and...
Stroke (Signs, Symptoms, Warning Signs)
A stroke is an interruption of the blood supply to part of the brain caused by either a blood clot (ischemic) or bleeding...
Heart failure (congestive) is caused by many conditions including coronary artery disease, heart attack, cardiomyopathy, and...
Cough (Chronic Cough)
Chronic cough is a cough that does not go away and is generally a symptom of another disorder such...
Angina is chest pain due to inadequate blood supply to the heart. Angina symptoms may include chest tightness, burning,...
Abnormal Heart Rhythms (Heart Rhythm Disorders)
Heart rhythm disorders vary from minor palpitations, premature atrial contractions (PACs), premature ventricular contractions...
Dilated Cardiomyopathy is a condition where the heart's ability to pump blood is decreased because the heart's main pumping...
Atrial Fibrillation (AF, AFib)
Atrial fibrillation (AF or AFib) is an abnormality in the heart rhythm which involves irregular and often rapid beating of the...
High Blood Pressure Treatment
High blood pressure (hypertension) means high pressure (tension) in the arteries. Treatment for high blood pressure include...
Diabetes and Kidney Disease
In the United States diabetes is the most common cause of kidney failure. High blood pressure and high levels of blood glucose...
Renal Artery Stenosis
Renal artery stenosis is a narrowing of the diameter of the renal arteries. When the renal arteries narrow, the result is...
Hypertensive Kidney Disease
High blood pressure can damage the kidneys and is one of the leading causes of kidney failure (end-stage renal kidney disease)....
Kidney dysplasia is a condition in which one or both of a baby's kidneys do not develop normally. In kidney dysplasia, cysts...
Restrictive cardiomyopathy, the rarest form of cardiomyopathy, is a condition in which the walls of the lower chambers of the...
Treatment & Diagnosis
- Superfoods FAQs
- Sugar FAQs
- High Blood Pressure FAQs
- Heart Disease FAQs
- Kidney Disease FAQs
- Salt FAQs
- Atrial Fibrillation A-Fib FAQs
- Protein FAQs
- How To Reduce Your Medication Costs
- Medication Disposal - What to Do with Old or Unusable Medication
- Dangers of Mixing Medications
- Pharmacy Visit, How To Get The Most Out of Your Visit
- Indications for Drugs: Approved vs. Non-approved
- Generic Drugs, Are They as Good as Brand-Names?
- Drugs: Buying Prescription Drugs Online Safely
- Drugs: The Most Common Medication Errors
Medications & Supplements
Prevention & Wellness
- Updated Heart Failure Treatment Guidelines Issued
- New Drug May Help Diabetic Kidney Disease Patients
- Heart Groups Issue Updated Blood Pressure Guidelines
- Blood Pressure Drugs Help Keep Heart Trouble at Bay: FDA
- Common Blood Pressure Meds May Cut Risk of Early Death in Kidney Patients: Study
- Drug May Make Walking Easier for People With Artery Disease
- Common Blood Pressure Drug Safe for Heart Failure: Study
- Underused Treatments Could Save Lives From Heart Failure
Quick GuideHow to Lower Blood Pressure: Exercise Tips
Daily Health News
Heart Health Resources
Subscribe to MedicineNet's Heart Health Newsletter
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
FDA Prescribing Information
Top Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers Related ArticlesComplete List
Angina SymptomsAngina is chest pain due to inadequate blood supply to the heart. Angina symptoms may include chest tightness, burning, squeezing, and aching. Coronary artery disease is the main cause of angina but there are other causes. Angina is diagnosed by taking the patient's medical history and performing tests such as an electrocardiogram (EKG), blood test, stress test, echocardiogram, cardiac CT scan, and heart catheterization. Treatment of angina usually includes lifestyle modification, medication, and sometimes, surgery. The risk of angina can be reduced by following a heart healthy lifestyle.
Blood Pressure PictureThe blood pressure is the pressure of the blood within the arteries. See a picture of Blood Pressure and learn more about the health topic.
Chronic cough is a cough that does not go away and is generally a symptom of another disorder such as
- allergic rhinitis,
- sinus infection,
- cigarette smoking,
- postnasal drip,
- medications, and
- less frequently tumors or other lung disease. Treatment of chronic cough is dependent upon the cause.
Chronic cough treatment is based on the cause, but may be soothed natural and home remedies.
Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) OverviewCongestive heart failure (CHF) refers to a condition in which the heart loses the ability to function properly. Heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, myocarditis, and cardiomyopathies are just a few potential causes of congestive heart failure. Signs and symptoms of congestive heart failure may include fatigue, breathlessness, palpitations, angina, and edema. Physical examination, patient history, blood tests, and imaging tests are used to diagnose congestive heart failure. Treatment of heart failure consists of lifestyle modification and taking medications to decrease fluid in the body and ease the strain on the heart. The prognosis of a patient with congestive heart failure depends on the stage of the heart failure and the overall condition of the individual.
Diabetes MellitusDiabetes is a chronic condition characterized by high levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood. The two types of diabetes are referred to as type 1 (insulin dependent) and type 2 (non-insulin dependent). Symptoms of diabetes include increased urine output, thirst, hunger, and fatigue. Treatment of diabetes depends on the type.
CAD SlideshowWhat is heart disease (coronary artery disease)? Learn about the causes of heart disease. Symptoms of heart disease include chest pain and shortness of breath. Explore heart disease diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.
Heart Disease QuizTake our Heart Disease Quiz to get answers and facts about high cholesterol, atherosclerosis prevention, and the causes, symptoms, treatments, testing, and procedures for medically broken hearts.
Heart failure (congestive) is caused by many conditions including coronary artery disease, heart attack, cardiomyopathy, and conditions that overwork the heart. Symptoms of heart failure include
- congested lungs,
- fluid and water retention,
- fatigue and weakness, and
- rapid or irregular heartbeats.
There are two types of congestive heart failure, systolic or left-sided heart failure; and diastolic or right-sided heart failure. Treatment, prognosis, and life-expectancy for a person with congestive heart failure depends upon the stage of the disease.
Heart SymptomsHeart attacks symptoms vary greatly for men and women, from anxiety and fatigue to nausea and sweating. Learn the warning signs of a heart attack and know the symptoms that may require an immediate trip to the hospital.
Heart Rhythm DisordersHeart rhythm disorders vary from minor palpitations, premature atrial contractions (PACs), premature ventricular contractions (PVCs), sinus tachycardia, and sinus brachycardia, to abnormal heart rhythms such as tachycardia, ventricular fibrillation, ventricular flutter, atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (PSVT), Wolf-Parkinson-White syndrome, brachycardia, or heart blocks. Treatment is dependent upon the type of heart rhythm disorder.
High Blood Pressure HypertensionHigh blood pressure is defined as a pressure of 140/90 mmHg or higher in the arteries. Genetic factors, high salt intake, and increased arterial stiffness cause high blood pressure. Dizziness, headache, nausea, and shortness of breath are just a few symptoms of high blood pressure. Untreated high blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease, kidney disease, atherosclerosis, eye damage, stroke, and increased risk of aneurysms. High blood pressure can be managed with weight loss, lifestyle changes, and medication.
High Blood PressureWhat causes high blood pressure (hypertension)? Know the warning signs and symptoms of high blood pressure. Read about high blood pressure medications, diet, and long term treatments.
Kidney Disease QuizKidney disease is common. Take this kidney disease quiz to test your knowledge and learn the symptoms, causes and types of kidney disease and what foods to eat and avoid!
Kidney FailureKidney failure can occur from an acute event or a chronic condition or disease. Prerenal kidney failure is caused by blood loss, dehydration, or medication. Some of the renal causes of kidney failure are:
- multiple myeloma, and
- acute glomerulonephritis.
- bladder obstruction,
- prostate problems,
- tumors, or
- kidney stones.
Low Blood PressureWhat is low blood pressure (hypotension)? Explore low blood pressure causes, symptoms, and signs. Discover what is considered low blood pressure.
ParathyroidectomyParathyroidectomy is the removal of one or more of the parathyroid glands to treat hyperparathyroidism. Risks of parathyroidectomy include:
- paralysis of the vocal cords,
- difficulty swallowing thin liquids,
- difficulty breathing,
- and drug reactions.
- damage to the recurrent laryngeal nerve,
- bleeding or hematoma,
- problems maintaining calcium levels in the blood,
- need for further and more aggressive surgery,
- need for a limited or total thyroidectomy,
- prolonged pain,
- impaired healing,
- and recurrence of the tumor.
Take the Salt QuizDo you love salt? Take the online Salt Quiz to get the facts about dietary salts and sodium in fruits, vegetables, processed foods, snacks and soups!
Stroke Symptoms and Treatment
A stroke is an interruption of the blood supply to part of the brain caused by either a blood clot (ischemic) or bleeding (hemorrhagic). Symptoms of a stroke may include
- double vision or vision loss,
- vertigo, and
- difficulty speaking or understanding speech.
A physical exam, imaging tests, neurological exam, and blood tests may be used to diagnose a stroke. Treatment may include administration of clot-busting drugs, supportive care, and in some instances, neurosurgery. The risk of stroke can be reduced by controlling high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and stopping smoking.