BMA Concise Guide to Medicine & Drugs

Candesartan

Brand name Amias

Used in the following combined preparations None

QUICK REFERENCE

Drug group Vasodilator and antihypertensive drug

Overdose danger rating Low

Dependence rating Low

Prescription needed Yes

Available as generic No

GENERAL INFORMATION

Candesartan belongs to the group of vasodilator drugs known as angiotensin II blockers and is used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure) and heart failure (inability of the heart muscle to cope with its workload). Candesartan works by blocking the action of angiotensin II (a hormone that constricts blood vessels). This relaxes the blood vessels, thereby lowering blood pressure and easing the heart’s workload.

Unlike ACE inhibitors, candesartan does not cause a persistent dry cough and may be a useful alternative for people who have to discontinue treatment with an ACE inhibitor for this reason.

INFORMATION FOR USERS

Your drug prescription is tailored for you. Do not alter dosage without checking with your doctor.

How taken/used Tablets.

Frequency and timing of doses Once daily.

Adult dosage range 4mg initially, increased to maximum of 32mg.

Onset of effect 2 hours.

Duration of action 24 hours.

Diet advice None.

Storage Keep in original container at room temperature out of the reach of children.

Missed dose Take as soon as you remember. If your next dose is due within 8 hours, take a single dose now and skip the next.

Stopping the drug Do not stop taking the drug without consulting your doctor. Stopping the drug may lead to worsening of the underlying condition.

Exceeding the dose An occasional unintentional extra dose is unlikely to cause problems. Large overdoses may cause dizziness and fainting. Notify your doctor.

POSSIBLE ADVERSE EFFECTS

Adverse effects of candesartan are usually mild and transient. Common effects include dizziness, headache, flushing, and nausea. More rarely, there may be muscle or joint pain. If you develop jaundice or swelling of the face or lips, stop taking the drug and consult your doctor immediately.

INTERACTIONS

ACE inhibitors (e.g. enalapril, captopril, lisinopril, or ramipril) may increase potassium levels when taken with candesartan.

Diuretics There is a risk of a sudden fall in blood pressure if these drugs are taken when candesartan treatment is started. They may also affect sodium and potassium levels in the blood.

NSAIDs (e.g. diclofenac or ibuprofen) may reduce candesartan’s effectiveness.

Lithium Levels of this drug may be increased when it is combined with candesartan, leading to toxicity.

Ciclosporin may increase potassium levels when combined with candesartan.

Potassium salts may increase risk of high potassium levels with candesartan.

SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS

Be sure to tell your doctor if:

· You have heart problems, including heart failure.

· You have kidney problems or stenosis of the kidney’s arteries.

· You have lactose/galactose intolerance or glucose/galastose malabsortion.

· You are taking other medicines.

Pregnancy Not prescribed. If you become pregnant during treatment, consult your doctor without delay.

Breast-feeding Safety not established. Discuss with your doctor.

Infants and children Not prescribed.

Over 60 Increased risk of adverse effects. Reduced dose may therefore be necessary.

Driving and hazardous work Do not undertake such activities until you have learned how candesartan affects you because the drug can cause dizziness and fatigue.

Alcohol Regular intake of excessive alcohol may raise blood pressure and reduce the effectiveness of candesartan.

PROLONGED USE

No special problems.

Monitoring Periodic checks on blood potassium levels and kidney function may be performed.