Generic Name: irbesartan (ir-be-SAR-tan)
When pregnancy is detected, discontinue irbesartan as soon as possible; drugs that act directly on the renin-angiotensin system can cause serious fetal toxicity .
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Nov 3, 2020.
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
Available Dosage Forms:
Therapeutic Class: Cardiovascular Agent
Pharmacologic Class: Angiotensin II Receptor Antagonist
Uses for irbesartan
Irbesartan is used alone or together with other medicines to treat high blood pressure (hypertension). 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 stroke and heart attacks.
Irbesartan is also used to treat high blood pressure with diabetic nephropathy. Diabetic nephropathy is a complication of type 2 diabetes which causes the kidneys to not work properly.
Irbesartan is an angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB). It works by blocking a substance in the body that causes blood vessels to tighten. As a result, irbesartan relaxes the blood vessels. This lowers blood pressure and increases the supply of blood and oxygen to the heart.
Irbesartan is available only with your doctor's prescription.
Before using irbesartan
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 irbesartan, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to irbesartan 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 have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of irbesartan in children younger than 6 years of age. Safety and efficacy have not been established.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of irbesartan in the elderly.
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 irbesartan, 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 irbesartan with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.
Using irbesartan 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.
- Potassium Phosphate
Using irbesartan with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
- Choline Salicylate
- Flufenamic Acid
- Mefenamic Acid
- Niflumic Acid
- Nimesulide Beta Cyclodextrin
- Propionic Acid
- Salicylic Acid
- Sodium Salicylate
- Tiaprofenic Acid
- Tolfenamic Acid
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 irbesartan. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Congestive heart failure, severe—Use may lead to kidney problems.
- Diabetic patients who are also taking aliskiren (Tekturna®)—Should not be used in patients with this condition.
- Electrolyte imbalances (e.g., low sodium in the body) or
- Fluid imbalances (e.g., dehydration, vomiting, diarrhea) or
- Kidney disease—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.
Proper use of irbesartan
In addition to the use of irbesartan, 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 is 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 irbesartan will not cure your high blood pressure but it does help control it. Therefore, 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.
You may take irbesartan with or without food.
Take all other medicines your doctor has prescribed to treat your condition.
The dose of irbesartan 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 irbesartan. 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, 150 milligrams (mg) once a day. Your doctor may increase your dose if needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 300 mg per day.
- Children younger than 6 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
- For diabetic nephropathy:
- Adults—300 milligrams (mg) once a day.
- Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
- For high blood pressure:
If you miss a dose of irbesartan, 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.
Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.
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.
Precautions while using irbesartan
It is very important that your doctor check the progress of you or your child at regular visits to make sure that irbesartan is working properly. Blood tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.
Using irbesartan 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 irbesartan, tell your doctor right away.
Dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting may occur, especially when you get up from a lying or sitting position. Make sure you know how you react to irbesartan 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 become sick while taking irbesartan, especially with severe or continuing nausea and vomiting or diarrhea. These conditions may cause you to lose too much water and may lead to low blood pressure. You can also loose water by sweating, so drink plenty of water during exercise or in hot weather.
Ask your doctor before you use medicines, supplements, or salt substitutes that contain potassium.
Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This especially includes over-the-counter (nonprescription) medicines for appetite control, asthma, colds, cough, hay fever, or sinus problems, since they may tend to increase your blood pressure.
Irbesartan 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:
- cold sweats
- dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up from lying or sitting position
- Bladder pain
- bloody or cloudy urine
- chest pain
- difficult, burning, or painful urination
- fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse
- frequent urge to urinate
- lower back or side pain
- Chest discomfort
- decreased urine output
- dilated neck veins
- extreme fatigue
- feeling of warmth
- irregular breathing
- irregular heartbeat
- pain or discomfort in the arms, jaw, back, or neck
- redness of the face, neck, arms, and occasionally, upper chest
- shortness of breath
- swelling of the face, fingers, feet, or lower legs
- tightness in the chest
- troubled breathing
- weight gain
Incidence not known
- Abdominal or stomach pain
- black, tarry stools
- bleeding gums
- clay-colored stools
- dark urine
- decreased frequency of urine
- increased thirst
- large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs
- loss of appetite
- muscle cramps or spasms
- muscle pain or stiffness
- numbness or tingling in the hands, feet, or lips
- pinpoint red spots on the skin
- unpleasant breath odor
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- vomiting of blood
- 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:
- Acid or sour stomach
- body aches or pain
- bone pain
- dryness or soreness of the throat
- feeling of indigestion
- general feeling of discomfort or illness
- joint pain
- pain in the chest below the breastbone
- runny nose
- stomach discomfort or upset
- stuffy nose
- tender, swollen glands in the neck
- trouble sleeping
- trouble with swallowing
- voice changes
- Blistering, crusting, irritation, itching, or reddening of the skin
- bloated or full feeling
- blurred or loss of vision
- burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, "pins and needles", or tingling feelings
- change in hearing
- cracked, dry, scaly skin
- decreased interest in sexual intercourse
- difficulty having a bowel movement (stool)
- disturbed color perception
- double vision
- ear drainage
- earache or pain in the ear
- excess air or gas in the stomach or intestines
- halos around lights
- hives or welts
- inability to have or keep an erection
- large, flat, blue or purplish patches in the skin
- loss in sexual ability, desire, drive, or performance
- night blindness
- overbright appearance of lights
- pain, swelling, or redness in the joints
- passing gas
- sleepiness or unusual drowsiness
- tunnel vision
Incidence not known
- Feeling of constant movement of self or surroundings
- sensation of spinning
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.
More about irbesartan
- Side Effects
- During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding
- Dosage Information
- Drug Images
- Drug Interactions
- Pricing & Coupons
- En Español
- 88 Reviews
- Drug class: angiotensin receptor blockers
- FDA Alerts (5)
- Other brands
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