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Generic Name: candesartan (kan de SAR tan)
Brand Name: Atacand

Medically reviewed by Philip Thornton, DipPharm. Last updated on Jan 25, 2021.

What is Atacand?

Atacand (candesartan) is an angiotensin II receptor antagonist. Candesartan keeps blood vessels from narrowing, which lowers blood pressure and improves blood flow.

Atacand is used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) in adults and children who are at least 1 year old. Lowering blood pressure can reduce the risk of stroke, heart attack, or other heart complications.

Atacand is also used in adults with certain types of heart failure, to reduce serious complications or death due to heart damage.


Do not use if you are pregnant. Stop using Atacand and tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant.

If you have diabetes, do not use Atacand together with any medication that contains the blood pressure medicine aliskiren (e.g. Amturnide, Tekturna, Tekamlo>.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use Atacand if you are allergic to candesartan.

If you have diabetes, do not use Atacand together with any medication that contains aliskiren (a blood pressure medicine).

You may also need to avoid taking candesartan with aliskiren if you have kidney disease.

To make sure Atacand is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • kidney disease (or if you are on dialysis);

  • liver disease;

  • heart problems;

  • if you are on a low-salt diet; or

  • if you are dehydrated.

Do not use if you are pregnant. If you become pregnant, stop taking this medicine and tell your doctor right away. Candesartan can cause injury or death to the unborn baby if you take the medicine during your second or third trimester.

You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.

How should I take Atacand?

Take Atacand exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose.

You may take Atacand with or without food.

Tell the doctor if a child taking this medicine has trouble swallowing the tablet.

You may have very low blood pressure while taking this medication. Call your doctor if you are sick with vomiting or diarrhea, or if you are sweating more than usual.

Your blood pressure will need to be checked often. You may also need frequent medical tests.

If you need surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time that you are using Atacand. You may need to stop using the medicine for a short time.

It may take up to 4 weeks before your blood pressure is under control. Keep using Atacand as directed, and talk with your doctor if your blood pressure does not improve after 2 weeks of treatment.

If you have high blood pressure, keep using this medicine even if you feel well. High blood pressure often has no symptoms. You may need to use blood pressure medicine for the rest of your life.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

Dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Hypertension:

Initial dose: 16 mg orally once a day
Maintenance dose: 8 to 32 mg/day orally in 1 to 2 divided doses
Maximum dose: 32 mg/day

-Consider administration of a lower initial dose in volume depleted patients.
-Most of the antihypertensive effect is present within 2 weeks; maximum blood pressure reduction at a given dose is generally observed within 4 to 6 weeks of starting that dose.

Usual Adult Dose for Congestive Heart Failure:

Initial dose: 4 mg orally once a day; double dose every 2 weeks, as tolerated, to target dose of 32 mg orally once a day

Use: Treatment of New York Heart Association (NYHA) class II through IV heart failure

Usual Pediatric Dose for Hypertension:

Initial dose: 0.2 mg/kg/day orally in 1 to 2 divided doses
Maintenance dose: 0.05 to 0.4 mg/kg/day orally in 1 to 2 divided doses

Less than 50 kg:
-Initial dose: 4 to 8 mg/day orally in 1 to 2 divided doses
-Maintenance dose: 2 to 16 mg/day orally in 1 to 2 divided doses
Greater than 50 kg:
-Initial dose: 8 to 16 mg/day orally in 1 to 2 divided doses
-Maintenance dose: 4 to 32 mg/day orally in 1 to 2 divided doses

-For patients with possible intravascular volume depletion (e.g., patients treated with diuretics, especially those with renal impairment), initiate this drug under close supervision and consider administration of a lower dose.
-Antihypertensive effect is present within 2 weeks; maximum blood pressure reduction at a given dose is generally observed within 4 weeks of starting that dose.
-For children unable to swallow tablets, an extemporaneous suspension may be used instead.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not take two doses at one time.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What to avoid

Avoid getting up too fast from a sitting or lying position, or you may feel dizzy.

Do not use potassium supplements or salt substitutes, unless your doctor has told you to.

Atacand side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Atacand: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;

  • fast or slow heartbeats;

  • unusual muscle pain or weakness;

  • high potassium level - nausea, weakness, tingly feeling, chest pain, irregular heartbeats, loss of movement; or

  • kidney problems - little or no urination, swelling in your feet or ankles, feeling tired or short of breath.

Common Atacand side effects may include:

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect Atacand?

Tell your doctor about all your other medicines, especially:

This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with candesartan, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Atacand only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.