Generic Name: olmesartan/hydrochlorothiazide (OL-me-SAR-tan/HYE-droe-KLOR-oh-THYE-a-zide)
Brand Name: Benicar HCT
Benicar HCT can cause injury or even death to a developing fetus when used during pregnancy. Contact your doctor immediately if you suspect that you are pregnant. If you are planning to become pregnant, talk with your doctor about other treatment options.
Benicar HCT is used for:
Treating high blood pressure. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.
Benicar HCT is a combination angiotensin II receptor blocker and diuretic. The angiotensin II receptor blocker works by relaxing the blood vessels. Exactly how the diuretic works to decrease blood pressure is not known, but it helps the kidneys to eliminate fluid and sodium from the body.
Do NOT use Benicar HCT if:
- you are allergic to any ingredient in Benicar HCT or to any other sulfonamide medicine (eg, sulfamethoxazole)
- you are pregnant
- you are unable to urinate
- you are also taking aliskiren and you have either diabetes or kidney problems
- you are taking dofetilide or ketanserin
Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.
Before using Benicar HCT:
Some medical conditions may interact with Benicar HCT. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:
- if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
- if you are able to become pregnant
- if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
- if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
- if you have ever had a severe reaction (eg, swelling of the hands, face, lips, eyes, throat, or tongue; trouble swallowing or breathing; hoarseness) after taking any other angiotensin II receptor blocker or an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor (eg, captopril)
- if you have dehydration; low blood volume; low blood sodium, chloride, potassium, or magnesium levels; high blood calcium levels; or severe or persistent vomiting
- if you have asthma; gout; heart problems (eg, congestive heart failure); liver, gallbladder, or kidney problems; high blood cholesterol or lipid levels; diabetes; or systemic lupus erythematosus
- if you are on a low-salt (sodium) diet or you drink alcohol
- if you have recently had a certain type of nerve surgery (sympathectomy)
- if you have never taken another medicine for high blood pressure
Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Benicar HCT. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:
- Dofetilide or ketanserin because the risk of irregular heartbeat may be increased
- Potassium-sparing diuretics (eg, spironolactone) or potassium supplements because the risk of high blood potassium levels may be increased
- ACE inhibitors (eg, lisinopril) or aliskiren because the risk of certain side effects (eg, kidney problems, high blood potassium levels, low blood pressure) may be increased
- Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), barbiturates (eg, phenobarbital), corticosteroids (eg, prednisone), diuretics (eg, furosemide), narcotic pain medicines (eg, morphine), or other medicines for high blood pressure because they may increase the risk of Benicar HCT's side effects
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (eg, celecoxib, ibuprofen) because they may decrease Benicar HCT's effectiveness and the risk of serious kidney problems may be increased
- Diazoxide, digoxin, lithium, potassium, or potassium-sparing diuretics (eg, spironolactone) because risk of their side effects and toxic effects may be increased by Benicar HCT
- Insulin or other diabetes medicine (eg, glipizide, metformin) because their effectiveness may be decreased by Benicar HCT
This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if Benicar HCT may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.
How to use Benicar HCT:
Use Benicar HCT as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.
- Benicar HCT may be taken with or without food.
- Drinking extra fluids while you are taking Benicar HCT is recommended. Check with your doctor for instructions.
- Benicar HCT may increase the amount of urine or cause you to urinate more often when you first start taking it. To keep this from disturbing your sleep, try to take your dose before 6 pm.
- If you take cholestyramine, colesevelam, or colestipol, ask your doctor or pharmacist how to take it with Benicar HCT.
- Continue to take Benicar HCT even if you feel well. Do not miss any doses.
- If you miss a dose of Benicar HCT, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.
Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Benicar HCT.
Important safety information:
- Benicar HCT may cause drowsiness, dizziness, or light-headedness. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use Benicar HCT with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
- Benicar HCT may cause dizziness, light-headedness, or fainting; alcohol, hot weather, exercise, or fever may increase these effects. To prevent them, sit up or stand slowly, especially in the morning. Sit or lie down at the first sign of any of these effects.
- Report any light-headedness or fainting to your doctor immediately. Your risk of light-headedness or fainting may be increased if you experience diarrhea, vomiting, or excessive sweating; if you do not drink enough fluids; or if you are on a low-salt diet.
- Benicar HCT contains hydrochlorothiazide, a sulfonamide, which can cause certain eye problems (myopia, angle-closure glaucoma). Your risk may be increased if you are allergic to sulfonamide medicines (eg, sulfamethoxazole) or to penicillin antibiotics (eg, amoxicillin). Untreated angle-closure glaucoma can lead to permanent vision loss. If these eye problems occur, symptoms usually occur within hours to weeks of starting Benicar HCT. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience symptoms such as vision changes (eg, decreased vision clearness) or eye pain.
- A certain bowel problem has happened in some patients taking Benicar HCT. This has happened within months to years after Benicar HCT was started. Contact your doctor right away if you experience severe or persistent diarrhea, or sudden or unexplained weight loss.
- Patients who take medicine for high blood pressure often feel tired or run down for a few weeks after starting treatment. Be sure to take your medicine even if you may not feel "normal." Tell your doctor if you develop any new symptoms.
- Benicar HCT may cause you to become sunburned more easily. Avoid the sun, sunlamps, or tanning booths until you know how you react to Benicar HCT. Use a sunscreen or wear protective clothing if you must be outside for more than a short time.
- Tell your doctor or dentist that you take Benicar HCT before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
- If you have high blood pressure, do not use nonprescription products that contain stimulants. These products may include diet pills or cold medicines. Contact your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.
- Your doctor may have also prescribed a potassium supplement for you. If so, follow the dosing carefully. Do not start taking additional potassium on your own or change your diet to include more potassium without first checking with your doctor.
- Check with your doctor before you use a salt substitute or a product that has potassium in it.
- Diabetes patients - Benicar HCT may affect your blood sugar. Check blood sugar levels closely. Ask your doctor before you change the dose of your diabetes medicine.
- Benicar HCT may raise your blood sugar. High blood sugar may make you feel confused, drowsy, or thirsty. It can also make you flush, breathe faster, or have a fruit-like breath odor. If these symptoms occur, tell your doctor right away.
- Benicar HCT may interfere with certain lab tests, including parathyroid function. Be sure your doctor and lab personnel know you are taking Benicar HCT.
- Lab tests, including kidney function, blood pressure, and blood electrolytes, may be performed while you use Benicar HCT. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
- Use Benicar HCT with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects.
- Benicar HCT should be used with extreme caution in CHILDREN; safety and effectiveness in children have not been confirmed.
- PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: Benicar HCT may cause birth defects or fetal death if you take it while you are pregnant. If you think you may be pregnant, contact your doctor right away. Benicar HCT is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking Benicar HCT.
Possible side effects of Benicar HCT:
All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:
Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:
Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue; unusual hoarseness); chest pain; decrease in sexual ability; decreased urination; depression; drowsiness; eye pain; fainting; fast or irregular heartbeat; fever, chills, or persistent sore throat; hoarseness; muscle pain, tenderness, or cramps; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin; restlessness; severe or persistent dizziness or light-headedness; severe or persistent dry mouth, nausea, or stomach pain; shortness of breath; swelling of the arms or legs; symptoms of low blood sodium levels (eg, confusion, mental or mood changes, seizures, sluggishness); unusual bruising or bleeding; unusual thirst, tiredness, or weakness; vision changes (eg, decreased vision clearness); vomiting; yellowing of the skin or eyes.
This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.
If OVERDOSE is suspected:
Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include fainting; fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat; severe or unusual dizziness; symptoms of blood electrolyte problems (eg, confusion; irregular heartbeat; mental or mood changes; muscle pain, weakness, or cramping; seizures; sluggishness); symptoms of dehydration (eg, drowsiness; dry eyes; fast heartbeat; nausea; restlessness; unusual thirst, tiredness, or weakness; vomiting).Proper storage of Benicar HCT:
Store Benicar HCT between 68 and 77 degrees F (20 and 25 degrees C). Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep Benicar HCT out of the reach of children and away from pets.
- If you have any questions about Benicar HCT, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- Benicar HCT is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
- If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
- Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.
This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take Benicar HCT or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about Benicar HCT. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to Benicar HCT. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using Benicar HCT.
Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.