Irbesartan is a prescription medication that comes as an oral tablet. It is used for:
- The treatment and management of high blood pressure
- The treatment of heart failure
- The treatment of kidney problems such as diabetic nephropathy due to type 2 diabetes
Irbesartan is an angiotensin II receptor antagonist that’s available as generic and brand names in the market. Angiotensin II is involved in fluid balance and regulating the blood pressure. It helps lower the blood pressure in two ways: It causes the blood vessels to constrict and become narrow and the kidney to retain water and salt. This action increases the volume of fluid in the blood vessels.
It is a reasonable initial treatment for high blood pressure because it effectively blocks the receptors that the antagonist II acts on allowing the peripheral blood vessels to widen. Widening of the peripheral blood vessel allows the blood to flow freely around the body thus reducing the blood pressure. At the same time, the heart wouldn’t have to works so hard in pumping blood throughout the country. Lowering the blood pressure helps prevent damages to the heart, blood vessels, kidney and other organs of the body. Damages to these organs can cause stroke, heart attack, kidney problems and many more.
Blocking the action of angiotensin II also increases the amount of fluid removed from the blood by the kidneys. Increasing the amount of fluid removed in the blood vessels lessen the resistance and pressure in the blood vessels. The combined overall effect lowers the blood pressure and prevents the kidney from being damage.
How to Use It
Your dose is based on your condition, how well you response to your initial dose and your kidney and liver function. Irbesartan comes in a tablet form for you to take orally. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Read all the instructions well. The typical recommended dose for the treatment of high blood pressure is 150 mg once a day. You can take this medicine with or without food. Your doctor may start giving you a low dose and gradually increase your dose to 300 mg a day. For patients with diabetic nephropathy due to type 2 diabetes their dose is 300 mg a day Remember to take it exactly as directed by your physician. Do not stop taking your medication even if you feel well. If you stop taking it at all:
- Your blood pressure will stay high or will spike which will increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. You may need to take this medication for the rest of your life.
- Your kidney function will not improve if you have diabetic nephropathy
- Your medication will not work well or may completely stop working if you miss any dose or don’t take it on schedule. For a missed dose, take it as soon as you remember. Do not double up your dose for the missed one.
- Taking Irbesartan too much can make you feel weak, dizzy and palpitate.
Possible Side Effects of Irbesartan
Irbesartan can cause unwanted side effects. If you will experience any of the following side effects, call your doctor right away:
- Little or no urination
- A light-headed feeling
- Rapid weight gain
- Loss of appetite
- Pain in the lower back or side
Seek medical help as soon as possible for possible signs of allergic reactions like:
- Swelling of the lips, face, throat and tongue
- Difficulty breathing
In rare cases, Irbesartan can cause skeletal muscle tissue breakdown which can lead to kidney failure. If you are experiencing any muscle pain, weakness and tenderness, fever, dark-colored urine and unusual tiredness, call your doctor right away.
Common side effects include:
- Upset stomach
What should I know before taking Irbesartan?
Use this medication with caution if you have:
- A low fluid volume or salt level in the body due to dehydration, vomiting, low-sodium diet or diarrhea
- Are 75 years of age and above
- A decreases kidney function
- You have a kidney failure
- A heart disease due to inadequate flow of blood to the heart
- A severe heart failure
- Aortic stenosis or narrowing of the main artery that leaves the heart to supply blood to the body
- Ischaemic heart disease
- Hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy or thickening of the internal heart muscle and a blockage inside the heart
Do not use in patients who are:
- 18 years of age and below
- Pregnant women especially during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy
- With rare hereditary problems of galactose intolerance, glucose-galactose malabsorption or Lapp lactase deficiency
- Allergic to any of its ingredients
Do not use this along with medication that contains Aliskiren if you have diabetes.
Getting the Best Result from Irbesartan
- Irbesartan can make you dizzy and weary especially during the first few days of your treatment. So take extra care when performing activities which requires you to be mentally alert like driving and operating machinery.
- This medicine can cause your kidney to produce more fluid. So you may prefer to take this in the morning rather than before going to bed.
- Irbesartan may cause your blood pressure to drop when moving from a lying down position.
- Regularly monitor the salt level in your blood while you are taking this medicine. If you feel weak, lethargic, confuse, drowsy or experiencing muscle cramps, nausea and vomiting inform your doctor right away.
- If you have a decreased liver function while under medication you should monitor your kidney function and potassium level regularly.
- Alcoholic beverages can further lower your blood pressure and may increase the side effects of the drug.
- This drug may cause an increase in the level of potassium in your blood. Do not potassium supplements unless you are told to do so. Taking potassium supplements may enhance the side effects of this drug.
- Irbesartan may interact with other drugs. Inform your doctor if you are taking any other medications including prescription and non-prescription drug, vitamins and herbal supplements as this can enhance the side effects.