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- What is irbesartan, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What brand names are available for irbesartan?
- Is irbesartan available as a generic drug?
- Do I need a prescription for irbesartan?
- What are the side effects of irbesartan?
- What is the dosage for irbesartan?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with irbesartan?
- Is irbesartan safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about irbesartan?
What is irbesartan, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
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.
What are the side effects of irbesartan?
The most common side effects of irbesartan are:
- abdominal pain or
- fatigue, and
- reduced blood pressure when rising from a sitting or standing position (orthostatic hypotension).
Other important side effects patients may experience include:
What is the dosage for irbesartan?
Which drugs or supplements interact with irbesartan?
Combining irbesartan with potassium-sparing diuretics (for example., spironolactone [Aldactone], triamterene, amiloride), potassium supplements, or salt substitutes containing potassium may lead to hyperkalemia (elevated potassium in the blood) and toxicity from potassium.
Combining irbesartan 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.
Is irbesartan safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
All ARBs should not be used during pregnancy. When used in the second or third trimester of pregnancy, irbesartan and similar drugs may cause injury and even death to the fetus. Irbesartan should not be used during pregnancy. When pregnancy is detected, irbesartan should be stopped as soon as possible.
It is not known whether irbesartan is secreted into human milk. Irbesartan is secreted into the milk of rats.
Irbesartan (Avapro) is a drug prescribed to treat high blood pressure and diabetic nephropathy (kidney disease). Side effects, drug interactions, dosage, and pregnancy safety should be reviewed prior to taking any medication.
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