Generic name: olmesartan (OL me SAR tan)
Brand name: Benicar
Drug class: Angiotensin receptor blockers
Benicar (olmesartan) is an angiotensin II receptor blocker (sometimes called an ARB). Olmesartan keeps blood vessels from narrowing, which lowers blood pressure and improves blood flow.
Benicar is used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) in adults and children at least 6 years old.
Benicar is sometimes given together with other blood pressure medications.
Do not use if you are pregnant. Stop using Benicar and tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant. Olmesartan can cause injury or death to the unborn baby if you take the medicine during your second or third trimester.
If you have diabetes, do not take Benicar with any medication that contains aliskiren (a blood pressure medicine - brand names include Amturnide, Tekturna, and Tekamlo).
Before taking this medicine
You should not take Benicar if you are allergic to olmesartan.
If you have diabetes, do not use Benicar together with any medication that contains aliskiren (a blood pressure medicine).
You may also need to avoid taking Benicar with aliskiren if you have kidney disease.
To make sure Benicar is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
- a heart condition other than one being treated with Benicar;
- kidney disease; or
- if you are on a low salt diet.
Do not use if you are pregnant. Stop using the medicine and tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant. Olmesartan can cause injury or death to the unborn baby if you take the medicine during your second or third trimester.
If you plan to get pregnant, ask your doctor for a safer medicine to use before and during pregnancy. Having high blood pressure during pregnancy may cause complications in the mother and the baby.
You should not breastfeed while using this medicine.
How should I take Benicar?
Take Benicar exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose.
You may take Benicar with or without food.
For a child who cannot swallow a tablet whole, a pharmacist can mix the medicine into a liquid.
Shake the liquid before you measure a dose. Use the dosing syringe provided, or use a medicine dose-measuring device (not a kitchen spoon).
Olmesartan doses are based on weight in children and/or teenagers. Your child's dose needs may change if the child gains or loses weight.
Call your doctor if you are sick with vomiting or diarrhea, or if you are sweating more than usual. You can easily become dehydrated while taking Benicar.
It may take up to 2 weeks before your blood pressure is under control. Keep using this medicine as directed, even if you feel well. High blood pressure often has no symptoms.
You may need to use blood pressure medicine for the rest of your life. Treatment may also include diet, exercise, lowering cholesterol, not smoking, and controlling diabetes.
Your blood pressure will need to be checked often. Your kidney function may also need to be checked.
Store tablets at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
Store the liquid in a refrigerator. Throw away any liquid leftover after 4 weeks.
Usual Adult Dose for Hypertension:
20 mg orally once a day; may increase dose to 40 mg in two weeks if further blood pressure reduction is needed.
Maximum dose: 40 mg orally once a day
-For patients with possible intravascular volume depletion (e.g., patients treated with diuretics, especially those with impaired renal function), initiate this drug under close supervision and give consideration to a lower starting dose.
-Twice daily dosing offers no additional benefit over the same total dose give once daily.
Usual Pediatric Dose for Hypertension:
6 to 16 years:
-20 to less than 35 kg: 10 mg orally once a day; may increase dose to 20 mg in two weeks if further blood pressure reduction is needed
-35 kg or more: 20 mg orally once a day; may increase dose to 40 mg in two weeks if further blood pressure reduction is needed
-For children who cannot swallow tablets, the same dose can be given using an extemporaneously compounded oral suspension.
Detailed Benicar dosage information
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not take two doses at one time.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
Overdose symptoms may include fast heartbeats or fainting.
What should I avoid while taking Benicar?
Do not use potassium supplements or salt substitutes, unless your doctor has told you to.
Avoid getting up too fast from a sitting or lying position, or you may feel dizzy.
Benicar side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Benicar: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
- a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;
- little or no urination;
- severe diarrhea and weight loss; or
- high potassium level - nausea, weakness, tingly feeling, chest pain, irregular heartbeats, loss of movement.
Common Benicar side effects may include:
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What other drugs will affect Benicar?
If you take colesevelam, take your Benicar dose 4 hours before you take colesevelam.
Tell your doctor about all your other medicines, especially:
- a diuretic (water pill) or other medicines that lower blood pressure; or
- NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) - aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), celecoxib, diclofenac, indomethacin, meloxicam, and others.
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with olmesartan, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.