Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on May 7, 2022.
Drugs that act directly on the renin-angiotensin system can cause injury or death to the developing fetus. Stop therapy as soon as possible when pregnancy is detected .
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
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Therapeutic Class: Cardiovascular Agent
Pharmacologic Class: Angiotensin II Receptor Antagonist
Uses for candesartan
Candesartan is used alone or together with other medicines to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) in adults and children 1 to 16 years of age. High blood pressure adds to the workload of the heart and arteries. If it continues for a long time, the heart and arteries may not function properly. This can damage the blood vessels of the brain, heart, and kidneys, resulting in a stroke, heart failure, or kidney failure. Lowering blood pressure can reduce the risk of strokes and heart attacks.
Candesartan is also used to treat heart failure in adults and cut down on the number of hospital visits for heart problems.
Candesartan is an angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB). It works by blocking the action of a substance in the body that causes the blood vessels to tighten. As a result, candesartan relaxes the blood vessels. This lowers blood pressure and increases the supply of blood and oxygen to the heart.
Candesartan is available only with your doctor's prescription.
Before using candesartan
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For candesartan, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to candesartan or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated pediatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of candesartan to treat hypertension in children 1 to 16 years of age.
Use of candesartan to treat hypertension in newborn babies and infants up to 1 year of age is not recommended.
No information is available on the relationship of age to the effects of candesartan to treat heart failure in the pediatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of candesartan in the elderly. However, elderly patients may be more sensitive to the effects of candesartan than younger adults.
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
Interactions with medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking candesartan, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using candesartan with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
Interactions with food/tobacco/alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other medical problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of candesartan. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Diabetes patients who are also taking aliskiren (Tekturna®) or
- Patients with kidney disease who are also taking aliskiren (Tekturna®)—Should not be used in patients with these conditions.
- Electrolyte imbalances (eg, low levels of salt or sodium in the body) or
- Fluid imbalances (caused by dehydration, vomiting, or diarrhea)—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.
- Kidney disease or
- Liver disease—Use with caution. The effects may be increased because of slower removal of the medicine from the body.
Proper use of candesartan
Candesartan comes with a patient information insert. Read the information carefully and make sure you understand it before taking candesartan. Ask your doctor if you have any questions.
In addition to the use of candesartan, treatment for your high blood pressure may include weight control and changes in the types of foods you eat, especially foods high in sodium (salt). Your doctor will tell you which of these are most important for you. You should check with your doctor before changing your diet.
Many patients who have high blood pressure will not notice any signs of the problem. In fact, many may feel normal. It is very important that you take your medicine exactly as directed and that you keep your appointments with your doctor even if you feel well.
Remember that candesartan will not cure your high blood pressure, but it does help control it. You must continue to take it as directed if you expect to lower your blood pressure and keep it down. You may have to take high blood pressure medicine for the rest of your life. If high blood pressure is not treated, it can cause serious problems such as heart failure, blood vessel disease, stroke, or kidney disease.
Candesartan also works best when there is a constant amount in the blood. To help keep the amount constant, do not miss any doses. Also, it is best to take the doses at the same time each day.
You may take candesartan with or without food.
If your child cannot swallow the tablets, an oral liquid may be given. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about this.
The dose of candesartan will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of candesartan. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
- For oral dosage form (tablets):
- For high blood pressure:
- Adults—At first, 16 milligrams (mg) once a day. Your doctor may change your dose as needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 32 mg per day.
- Children 6 to 16 years of age and weighing more than 50 kilograms (kg)—The usual starting dose for the tablet is 8 to 16 mg once a day. Your doctor may change your dose as needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 32 mg per day.
- Children 6 to 16 years of age and weighing less than 50 kg—The usual starting dose for the tablet is 4 to 8 mg once a day. Your doctor may change your dose as needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 16 mg per day.
- Children 1 to 5 years of age—Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor. The dose is usually 0.05 to 0.4 mg per kg of body weight per day.
- Children younger than 1 year of age—Use is not recommended.
- For heart failure:
- Adults—At first, 4 milligrams (mg) once a day. Your doctor may increase your dose as needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 32 mg per day.
- Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
- For high blood pressure:
If you miss a dose of candesartan, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.
Keep out of the reach of children.
Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.
Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.
Use the mixed oral liquid within 30 days after first opening the bottle. Do not freeze.
Precautions while using candesartan
It is very important that your doctor check the progress of you or your child at regular visits to make sure that candesartan is working properly. Blood tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.
Using candesartan while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control to keep from getting pregnant. If you think you have become pregnant while using candesartan, tell your doctor right away.
Dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting may also occur, especially when you get up from a lying or sitting position or if you have been taking a diuretic (water pill). Make sure you know how you react to candesartan before you drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous if you are dizzy or not alert. If you feel dizzy, lie down so you do not faint. Then sit for a few moments before standing to prevent the dizziness from returning.
Check with your doctor right away if you or your child become sick while taking candesartan, especially with severe or continuing nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. These conditions may cause you to lose too much water or salt and may lead to low blood pressure. You can also lose water by sweating, so drink plenty of water during exercise or in hot weather.
Before having any kind of surgery (including dental surgery) or emergency treatment, tell the doctor or dentist in charge that you are taking candesartan.
Ask your doctor before you use medicines, supplements, or salt substitutes that contain potassium.
Black patients may have a smaller response to the blood pressure-lowering effects of candesartan.
Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This especially includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines for appetite control, asthma, colds, cough, hay fever, or sinus problems, since they may tend to increase your blood pressure.
Candesartan side effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
- Arm, back, or jaw pain
- bleeding gums
- chest pain or discomfort
- chest tightness or heaviness
- cough or hoarseness
- fast or irregular heartbeat
- joint pain
- large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs
- lower back or side pain
- pain or discomfort in the arms, jaw, back, or neck
- painful or difficult urination
- shortness of breath
- swelling of the feet or lower legs
Incidence not known
- Abdominal or stomach pain
- black, tarry stools
- bloody urine
- dark urine
- decreased urine output
- difficult or troubled breathing
- general feeling of tiredness or weakness
- hives or welts
- increased blood pressure
- increased thirst
- light-colored stools
- loss of appetite
- muscle pain or cramps
- numbness or tingling in the hands, feet, or lips
- pale skin
- redness of the skin
- skin rash
- sore throat
- sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth
- swelling of the face, ankles, or hands
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- upper right abdominal or stomach pain
- weakness or heaviness of the legs
- weight gain
- yellow eyes or skin
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- Ear congestion or pain
- head congestion
- runny or stuffy nose
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
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