What is Benicar?
Benicar (olmesartan) is a prescription drug. It comes as a film-coated oral tablet and is also available as a generic drug.
It is an angiotensin II receptor antagonist. Olmesartan prevents blood vessels from narrowing, which lowers blood pressure and improves blood flow.
Benicar is used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) in adults and children at least six years old.
Sometimes, doctors give Benicar together with other blood pressure-lowering drugs as part of combination therapy.
Avoid taking Benicar during pregnancy. You should stop using Benicar at once and tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant. This medicine can also cause injury or death to the unborn baby if you keep taking medication during your second or third trimester.
People with diabetes should not use Benicar combined with any medication that contains aliskiren (a blood pressure medicine – available under brand names like Tekturna, Tekamlo, and Amturnide).
If you have a kidney-associated disease, you may also need to avoid taking Benicar with aliskiren.
What to know before taking Benicar?
It is best not to take Benicar if you are allergic to olmesartan.
To ensure Benicar is safe for you, let your doctor know if you have or ever had:
- Liver disease
- If you are taking a low salt diet
- Congestive heart failure
Avoid using Benicar during pregnancy. You should stop using Benicar at once and tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant. This medicine can lead to injury or death to the unborn baby if you keep taking medication during your second or third trimester. Doctors do not recommend to breast-feed while using this medicine.
How to take Benicar?
It would be best if you took Benicar specifically as prescribed by your doctor. Make sure to follow all directions on your prescription label and read all instruction sheets or medication guides. Your doctor may occasionally alter your dose depending on your progress.
You may take Benicar with or without food.
Try to keep using this medicine as directed, even if you feel well. High blood pressure often shows no symptoms. It might be possible that you may need to use blood pressure medication for the rest of your life.
While taking this medication, you may have reduced blood pressure. Seek your doctor’s help if you are sick with vomiting or diarrhea or sweating more than usual.
You may often need to monitor your blood pressure.
It is best to store the medicine at room temperature, away from heat and moisture.
Benicar’s dosage may differ from person to person, depending on various factors. Your doctor may assess different things to determine the best suitable quantity of this drug for you. These factors include:
- Your age
- The condition to treat
- The severity of the problem
- How your body feels after the initial dose
- Other medical conditions you may be having
Usual Adult (ages 17-64 years) Dose for Hypertension:
- The typical starting dosage is 20 mg taken orally once a day.
- Your doctor might increase your dosage up to a maximum of 40 mg taken orally once a day after two weeks.
Usual Pediatric Dose for Hypertension:
For ages 6 to 16 years:
- The typical starting dosage for children who weigh 44–77 pounds (20–35 kg) is 10 mg taken orally once a day, which doctors may increase to 20 mg in two weeks if further blood pressure reduction is needed.
- The typical starting dosage for children who weigh 77 pounds or more (35 kg or more) is 20 mg taken orally once a day, which doctors may increase to 40 mg in two weeks if further blood pressure reduction is needed.
For ages 0–5 years:
No study is available for using this drug in children younger than six years, and do not give this drug to children under one year of age.
Senior dosage (ages 65 years and more):
There are not any specific recommendations for senior dosing. It may be possible that older adults may process drugs more slowly as compared to younger people. It may be possible that the typical adult dosage may cause levels of this drug to be higher than usual in your body. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dosage or a different dosing schedule.
Symptoms of overdose may include:
- Severe dizziness
Overdose of this drug may cause severe symptoms such as passing out or difficult breathing. In case of an overdose, call 911 or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What to avoid while using Benicar?
Stop drinking alcohol if you are using this medicine because drinking alcohol can exacerbate Benicar’s specific side effects.
Avoid getting up abruptly from a sitting or lying position, or it may lead to a feeling of dizziness.
Benicar side effects
You should seek emergency medical help if you develop signs of an allergic reaction to Benicar like hives, difficulty breathing, swelling of your face, throat, lips, or tongue.
Contact your doctor immediately if you have:
- Difficulty in urination
- A light-headed feeling
- High potassium level leading to nausea, weakness, tingly feeling, chest pain, irregular heartbeats, loss of movement
- Swelling in your hands or feet
- False heart rate
Common side effects
- Back pain
- Blood in your urine
- High blood sugar
- High triglycerides
- Flu-like symptoms like fever and body aches
- Sore throat, runny nose, and sinus infection
The mild symptoms may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, consult your doctor or pharmacist.
Serious side effects
- Low blood pressure (hypotension). Symptoms can include:
- Serious allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:
- Swelling of your lips, face, tongue, or throat
- Kidney problems. Symptoms can include:
- Swelling of your hands, feet, or ankles
- Weight gain
- Liver problems. Symptoms can include:
- Itchy skin
- Pain in the right upper part of your stomach
- Yellowing of the whites of your eyes and your skin
It might be possible that there may be other side effects besides the one given in the above list. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What drugs can interact with Benicar?
Benicar oral tablets can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbal products you may be taking. Interaction with other medications may change the way a drug works. It can be harmful or prevent the medicine from working well.
Your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully to help avoid interactions. A doctor needs to know what medicines, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
Examples of drugs that can cause interactions with Benicar are listed below:
Blood pressure medications interactions
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, including:
- Angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), such as:
Bipolar disorder drug interactions
If you take this cholesterol and diabetes medication with Benicar, it can reduce the amount of olmesartan that your body absorbs. When taking both these drugs, you should take Benicar at least 4 hours before you take colesevelam.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) interactions