Olmesartan is an angiotensin II receptor antagonist primarily prescribed by doctors for the treatment of:
- High blood pressure with no known cause or also known as essential hypertension
- Heart failure
- Diabetic kidney disease
High blood pressure is a common condition. However, when left untreated, high blood pressure can cause damages to the heart, brain, blood vessels, kidney and other vital organs in the body.
This drug acts similarly with Losartan. As a newer angiotensin II receptor or ARB, Olmesartan can effectively lower the blood pressure and are conveniently taken once a day. It’s better than Losartan in lowering the blood pressure and generally provides a 24-hours coverage. Olmesartan also provides a bonus benefit in lowering the cholesterol level aside from lowering the blood pressure.
ARB blocks the action the proteins angiotensin II receptors in the body that tightens the blood vessels so blood can flow freely and smoothly and for the heart to pump more blood efficiently. It normally acts on the receptors in the body. This causes the blood vessels to become narrow and stimulating the production of hormone called aldosterone. The aldosterone hormone causes water and salt to retain by the kidney which increases the volume of fluid in the blood vessels.
Blocking the action of angiotensin II widens the peripheral blood vessels, allowing more space for the blood to flow and reducing the resistance in the blood vessels. It also reduces the action of aldosterone on the kidney so the amount of fluid being removed from the blood increases, which lessens the resistance and pressure in the blood vessels.
The US FDA has determined that the benefits of this medication continue to outweigh its potential risks in treating patients with high blood pressure. Olmesartan is available as a brand-name drug and as a generic drug. The generic version usually cost lesser than the brand-names. It may be used with other medications to treat high blood pressure in adults and children 6 years of age and older. In addition to taking medications, lifestyle changes such as a diet that is low in salt and fat, exercise, maintaining a healthy weight can help control your blood pressure.
How to Use It
Take Olmesartan exactly as instructed by your physician. Your dose is based on the following:
- Your age
- The condition being treated
- The severity of your condition
- How you react to the first dose
- Your other medical conditions
The typical starting dose for an adult is 20 mg a day. Your doctor may increase your dose up to 40 mg a day after 2 weeks. The dose for children is based on their weight. For children weighing 44 to 77 pounds, the dose is 10 mg a day. Children who weigh 77 pounds and above should take 20 mg a day.
Possible Side Effects of Olmesartan
Olmesartan doesn’t cause drowsiness but it may cause other side effects like:
- High blood sugar
- Back pain
- Blood in the urine
- Sore throat, sinus infection and runny nose
- High cholesterol
These side effects are mild and may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. However if symptoms persist, talk to your doctor.
Serious side effects that need immediate medical attention may include:
- Serious allergic reactions
- Low blood pressure with signs like dizziness and faintness
- Liver problems with signs like nausea, yellowing of the eyes, and pain in the upper right part of the stomach
- Kidney problems with signs like weight gain and swelling on feet, hands and ankles
What should I know before taking Olmesartan?
Do not use this if you are:
- Have a severely decreased liver function or kidney function
- Rare hereditary problems of galactose intolerance, glucose-galactose malabsorption or Lapp-lactase deficiency
- Blockage in the bile ducts or biliary obstruction
Use this with care if you have:
- A decreased kidney and liver function
- Kidney disease
- 60 years old and above
- Severe heart failure
- Narrowing of the arteries in the brain or heart
- Narrowing of one of the valves in the heart or mitral valve stenosis
- Low fluid volume or salt levels in the body due to low sodium diet, vomiting, diarrhea or diuretics therapy
Olmesartan may help manage your blood pressure but will not cure it. Your blood pressure may decrease during the first few weeks of your treatment. However, it may take up to 2 weeks before you will notice the full benefit of this drug. You should continue taking this drug even if you feel well. Do not stop taking this medication without taking to your doctor.
Getting the Best Result from Olmesartan
- This drug is not recommended for people with high blood pressure due to a high level of aldosterone. Olmesartan generally do not respond to this type of blood pressure lowering medication.
- Patients with heart failure and decreased liver function should monitor their blood potassium level while taking this drug.
- Olmesartan can make you feel weary and dizzy. If you are affected, take extra care when driving or operating machinery.
- Certain medications should not be used during breastfeeding or pregnancy. Olmesartan can cause harm or end your pregnancy. Always inform your doctor if you are breastfeeding, pregnant or planning a pregnancy before using this medicine.
- Inform your doctor if you are taking any other medications including prescription and non-prescription drugs, vitamins and herbal supplements.
- Diarrhea, sweating a lot, not drinking enough fluids can cause a sudden drop in the blood pressure causing you to faint and become dizzy. If you have any of these symptoms or develop them during treatment, inform your doctor right away.
- Taking Olmesartan for a long time can cause severe diarrhea with weight loss. If you have severe diarrhea and weight loss that you can’t figure out, stop taking Olmesartan and contact your doctor.