What Is Candesartan (Atacand)?
Candesartan is the generic form of the brand-name medicine Atacand, which is used to treat high blood pressure and congestive heart failure.
Lowering your blood pressure can reduce your risk of experiencing a heart attack, a stroke, or another cardiovascular complication.
This prescription medicine is also sometimes used to treat or slow the progression of diabetic nephropathy (kidney disease in people with diabetes and high blood pressure).
Candesartan belongs to a class of drugs called angiotensin II receptor antagonists. It works by blocking the action of a substance in your body that causes blood vessels to tighten.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved candesartan in 1998. It's marketed as Atacand by AstraZeneca.
Before taking candesartan, tell your doctor about all medical conditions you have or have ever had, especially:
- Heart, kidney, or liver disease
- Congestive heart failure
- An electrolyte imbalance
Also, let your doctor know if you have diabetes and are taking Tekturna or Amturnide (aliskiren).
Don't take potassium or salt substitutes while using candesartan unless your healthcare provider tells you to do so.
Diarrhea, vomiting, sweating, or a lack of fluids can cause a drop in blood pressure, which may lead to lightheadedness or fainting. Tell your doctor if you experience any of these problems while taking candesartan.
You'll need to have your blood pressure checked frequently while taking this medicine. Keep all appointments with your doctor and laboratory.
Tell your doctor you're taking candesartan before having any type of surgery, including a dental procedure.
Pregnancy and Candesartan
Candesartan contains a black box warning because it may cause death or serious injury to a fetus if it's taken during the last six months of pregnancy.
Don't take this medicine if you're pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
Use an effective form of birth control while taking candesartan.
Stop taking candesartan and call your doctor immediately if you become pregnant while taking this drug.
It's not known whether this medicine passes into breastmilk or could hurt a breastfeeding baby. Don't take candesartan while breastfeeding.
Candesartan Side Effects
Common Side Effects of Candesartan
Tell your doctor if any of the following side effects become severe or don't go away:
- Sore throat
- Back pain
Serious Side Effects of Candesartan
Tell your doctor right away if you experience any of the symptoms listed in the Candesartan Warnings section above, or any of the following serious side effects:
- Decreased urination
- Muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness (especially if you also have a fever, unusual tiredness, or dark-colored urine)
- Chest pain
- Fast or slow heartbeat
- Weak pulse
- Feeling like you might pass out
- Difficulty swallowing or breathing
- Swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, lower legs, feet, or ankles
Tell your doctor about all prescription, non-prescription, illegal, recreational, herbal, nutritional, or dietary drugs you're taking, especially those listed in the Candesartan Warnings section above, and any of the following:
Candesartan and Other Interactions
Candesartan may cause dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting.
Use caution when driving, operating machinery, or performing any activity that requires alertness.
Candesartan and Alcohol
Alcohol can lower your blood pressure and increase certain side effects of candesartan.
Don't drink alcohol while taking this medicine without first talking to your doctor.
Candesartan comes as a tablet to take by mouth, typically once or twice daily.
Your dose will depend on your medical condition, response to treatment, and other factors.
You can take candesartan with or without food. Try to take it around the same time each day.
Your doctor may start you on a low dose of candesartan and then gradually increase it.
Follow the instructions on your prescription label carefully when taking this medicine. Don't take more or less candesartan than your doctor recommends.
It may take two to four weeks to see the full effects of candesartan. Talk to your doctor if your symptoms don't improve after four weeks of treatment.
Continue to take candesartan even if you feel well. Don't stop using it without first talking to your doctor.
Symptoms of a candesartan overdose may include:
- Slow or fast heartbeat
If you suspect an overdose, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately.
You can get in touch with a poison control center at 800-222-1222.
Missed Dose of Candesartan
If you miss a dose of candesartan, take it as soon as you remember.
But if it's almost time for your next scheduled dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular medication schedule.
Don't double up on doses to make up for a missed one.
By Lynn Marks | Medically Reviewed by Sanjai Sinha, MD
Latest Update: 2019-07-29
Copyright © 2014 Everyday Health Media, LLC
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Video: How Does Candesartan Work
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