candesartan cilexetil, Atacand

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

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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?

Atacand

Is candesartan available as a generic drug?

GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes

Do I need a prescription for candesartan?

Yes

What are the side effects of candesartan?

The most common side effects of candesartan are:

Other important side effects include:

Rhabdomyolysis (inflammation and destruction of muscle) and angioedema (swelling of soft tissues including those of the throat and larynx) are rare but serious side effects of candesartan.

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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 daily.

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 dangerous 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 in lithium (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.

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 stopped.

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 nursing mothers.

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).

Reference: FDA Prescribing Information

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Summary

Candesartan cilexetil (Atacand) is a medication prescribed to treat high blood pressure. It is also used for reducing the chance of death or hospitalization due to heart failure. Side effects, drug interactions, warnings and precautions, and pregnancy safety should be reviewed prior to taking this medication.

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See more info: candesartan on RxList
Reviewed on 12/29/2014
References
Reference: FDA Prescribing Information

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