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Written by Dr Kim Langdon, MD
Information last reviewed 06/21/19
Candesartan is a medication used to help lower high blood pressure or treat patients in heart failure. It can sometimes be used in combination therapy, which means it can be prescribed in conjunction with other drugs. Candesartan belongs to a family of drugs called angiotensin receptor 2 blockers. The drug helps relax the blood vessels in the body. This reduces strain on the heart, which helps increase the survival of patients with heart failure. It also reduces the risk of future stroke, heart attack, and kidney problems.
Candesartan (Atacand) is a type of antihypertensive drug known as an angiotensin II receptor blocker. Angiotensin II is a substance made by the liver that has effects upon the kidneys and brain. Specifically, angiotensin II, acts upon the kidneys and the adrenal gland in the brain to encourage salt and water to be retained by the body and the blood vessels to narrow. This has the effect of increasing blood pressure. Therefore, substances that block the effects of angiotensin II, are capable of reducing your blood pressure.
Candesartan is used as part of a long term treatment plan. The medication starts to take effect after 2 hours, however, is it not a quick fix. For the full effect of the drug, it takes up to 4 weeks. If Candesartan is taken for heart failure, it can take weeks to notice a reduction in symptoms. Candesartan should not be stopped without consulting your doctor. Taking too much of Candesartan causes dizziness, low blood pressure and a spike in your heart rate. Try and remember to take your doses at the allocated times, however, if you miss a dose do not double your next dose and it causes toxic side effects.
Over 24 hours, Candesartan shows an effective reduction in blood pressure. There is little difference found between the maximum and through effects between doses. Candesartan is found to be more tolerable but as effective as other blood pressure-lowering drugs.
The active ingredient in Candesartan is candesartan cilexeti, an angiotensin II receptor blocker (antagonist). Angiotensin II causes blood vessels to narrow, so a substance that blocks the effect of angiotensin II can reduce your blood pressure, by allowing the blood vessels to relax and widen.
Calcium carboxymethylcellulose, hydroxypropyl cellulose, iron oxide (except 4 mg tablets), lactose, magnesium stearate, maize starch and polyethylene glycol.
You should not take candesartan if you have had a previous allergic reaction to this medication. A severe allergic reaction to candesartan is rare and presents with hives/itch, swelling of the face and lips, severe dizziness, difficulty breathing and chest tightness. If you notice any of these symptoms, you could be having a severe allergic reaction and immediate medical attention.
The dose of Candesartan is 8mg once a day, and increased every 2 weeks as needed to achieve a goal blood pressure.
Candesartan can be used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) and heart failure in adults. The dosages will vary from person to person and depending upon which condition you are trying to treat (see below).
If it is within 12 hours of your missed dose (ie, if your missed dose was at 9 am and it is 5pm) you can take the missed dose late. However, if it is over 12 hours from your missed dose, just skip the missed dose and resume with your regular dose the next day. Do not double the dosage.
Common side effects, affecting more than 1 in 10 people are
Less common side effects affecting 1-10% of people are
Candesartan should not be used by people with the following conditions:
Candesartan may interact with several drugs including the following:
Candesartan and Losartan belong to a class of medications known as angiotensin receptor II blockers or ARBs. Although they belong to the same class of medications, there are important differences between the two. Candesartan has a better side effect profile and a longer duration of action than Losartan. This leads to fewer fluctuations in blood pressure and better blood pressure control throughout the day. As a result, candesartan may be better at preventing long-term complications of high blood pressure, such as heart attacks and strokes.
Candesartan 4mg tablets are white, while 8mg, 16mg and 32mg tablets are pink.
A dry cough is a common side effect of a class of medications known as angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (or ACE inhibitors) but is not an expected side effect of ARBs. Both ACE inhibitors and ARBs lower blood pressure through their effect on a system known as the renin angiotensin aldosterone system. This system is one mechanism the body uses to regulate blood pressure. Ace inhibitors also have a separate effect on a biological compound known as bradykinin. Increasing bradykinin levels in the blood helps lower blood pressure, but may also lead to the side effect of a dry cough. As ARBs do not affect bradykinin levels, they are not known to cause a dry cough. An exception to this may be losartan which, it is speculated, does have some effect on bradykinin levels. When a cough occurs with Candesartan use, it is normally due to an unrelated issue.
Candesartan takes effect within 2-3 hours, reaches peak effect in 6-8 hours, and has a total duration of action of over 24 hours.
Studies show that candesartan, similar to some other blood pressure medications, may be helpful in preventing migraine headaches. Candesartan may be as effective and possibly better tolerated than propranolol, another blood pressure medication, which is commonly used for migraine prevention. Candesartan use for migraines is normally reserved for individuals who have also been diagnosed with high blood pressure.
There are currently four indications for which Candesartan is prescribed:
Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. You and your physician will determine if and how you should take any medication prescribed to you following a medical consultation.
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