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Benicar

Generic Name: olmesartan (OL me SAR tan)
Brand Names: Benicar

Medically reviewed by Sanjai Sinha, MD. Last updated on Mar 4, 2019.

What is Benicar?

Benicar (olmesartan) is an angiotensin II receptor antagonist. Olmesartan keeps 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 who are at least 6 years old.

Benicar is sometimes given together with other blood pressure medications.

Important Information

Do not use if you are pregnant. Stop using Benicar and tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant. Olmesartan can cause injury or death to the unborn baby if you take the medicine during your second or third trimester.

If you have diabetes, do not use Benicar together with any medication that contains aliskiren (a blood pressure medicine - brand names include Amturnide, Tekturna, and Tekamlo).

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

Before taking this medicine

You should not take Benicar if you are allergic to olmesartan.

To make sure Benicar is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:

Do not use if you are pregnant. If you become pregnant, stop taking this medicine and tell your doctor right away. Olmesartan 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 Benicar?

Take Benicar 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 Benicar with or without food.

Keep using this medicine as directed, even if you feel well. High blood pressure often has no symptoms. You may need to use blood pressure medication for the rest of your life.

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.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

Benicar dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Hypertension:

20 mg orally once a day; may increase dose to 40 mg in two weeks if further blood pressure reduction is needed.

Maximum dose: 40 mg orally once a day

Comments:
-For patients with possible intravascular volume depletion (e.g., patients treated with diuretics, especially those with impaired renal function), initiate this drug under close supervision and give consideration to a lower starting dose.
-Twice daily dosing offers no additional benefit over the same total dose give once daily.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Hypertension:

6 to 16 years:
-20 to less than 35 kg: 10 mg orally once a day; may increase dose to 20 mg in two weeks if further blood pressure reduction is needed
-35 kg or more: 20 mg orally once a day; may increase dose to 40 mg in two weeks if further blood pressure reduction is needed

Comments:
-For children who cannot swallow tablets, the same dose can be given using an extemporaneous suspension.

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 should I avoid while taking Benicar?

Drinking alcohol can increase certain side effects of Benicar.

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

Benicar side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Benicar: hives; difficulty 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;

  • little or no urination;

  • fast heart rate;

  • swelling in your hands or feet; or

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

Common Benicar 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 Benicar?

Tell your doctor about all your other medicines, especially a diuretic or other blood pressure medicines.

Other drugs may interact with olmesartan, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.

Further information

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

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

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