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

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. It is sometimes given together with other blood pressure medications.

Benicar may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important information

Do not use Benicar 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.

If you have diabetes, do not use olmesartan together with any medication that contains aliskiren (Amturnide, Tekturna, Tekamlo).

Before taking this medicine

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

If you have diabetes, do not use Benicar together with any medication that contains aliskiren (Amturnide, Tekturna, Tekamlo).

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

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

  • liver disease;

  • congestive heart failure; or

  • if you are dehydrated.

Do not use Benicar 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.

It is not known whether olmesartan passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are taking Benicar.

How should I take Benicar?

Take Benicar exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

You may take Benicar with or without food.

Your blood pressure will need to be checked often.

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.

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.

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.

See also: Dosage Information (in more detail)

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

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.

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

Avoid getting up too fast from a sitting or lying position, or you may feel dizzy. Get up slowly and steady yourself to prevent a fall.

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;

  • severe or ongoing diarrhea with weight loss;

  • chest pain, fast heart rate;

  • swelling in your hands or feet; or

  • high potassium - nausea, slow or unusual heart rate, weakness, loss of movement.

Common Benicar side effects may include:

  • dizziness.

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.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

What other drugs will affect Benicar?

Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using, especially:

  • colesevelam;

  • lithium;

  • NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) - ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), celecoxib, diclofenac, indomethacin, meloxicam, and others.

This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with olmesartan, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist can provide more information about Benicar.
  • 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.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2017 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 6.04.

Date modified: January 10, 2017
Last reviewed: December 05, 2016

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