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Benicar (olmesartan medoxomil) is an antihypertensive drug which lowers high blood pressure by inhibiting the narrowing of blood vessels. In promoting relaxed, widened blood vessels blood pressure will drop. Benicar may be sufficient on its own, or it may be given along with other blood pressure-reducing medications.
In Canada, the EU and Japan Benicar is sold as Olmetec. It is available as a generic in some areas, but in most places a prescription is required to buy Benicar or Olmetec.
Benicar should not be used while pregnant, while trying to become pregnant, or while breast feeding. The medication may cause severe birth defects or death, particularly if taken during the second or third trimesters.
Getting Started with Benicar
Benicar is given when blood pressure is elevated to such an extent that there is an increased risk of severe, possibly fatal complications, such as heart attack or stroke. Treatment will usually be long-term, lasting several years, even if lifestyle changes are made in the meantime. Eventually lifestyle changes alone may be enough to manage blood pressure, eliminating the need for medication, but the process takes some time.
To get the most from treatment the medication needs to be taken consistently. Doses should be taken at the same time each day if at all possible, and should not be skipped. It takes around 2 weeks for full benefits of treatment to be felt, so any disruption in treatment may cause a 2-week setback.
Benicar comes in tablets, which may be taken with or without food. Tablets may be split if needed to produce smaller doses. Split tablets should not be stored long-term as they may lose effectiveness quicker than intact tablets.
In otherwise healthy patients of 16 years of age and up treatment is fairly straightforward:
Keep in mind that the above guidelines may be overridden if other medications are being taken or if other major medical conditions are present.
Benicar tablets can be used in younger patients of 6 to 16 years of age:
In patients under 6 years of age the medication is typically administered in a suspension which is prepared by a doctor or pharmacist. It should not be used in patients under 1 year of age.
Warnings & Adverse Effects
Used properly in otherwise healthy patients side effects from Benicar are quite rare. The most commonly reported side effect is dizziness, which may stop occurring as the body adjusts to treatment.
There are some patients at greater risk of experiencing more severe side effects, however, namely those who:
Patients who have kidney problems or diabetes and are taking aliskiren (another antihypertensive medication) should not take Benicar.
As mentioned above, this product should not be used while pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or breast feeding.
Benicar may interact with a number of other medications. Of greatest concern are:
There may be other medications that interact with Benicar as well; check with a doctor or pharmacist before mixing treatments if unsure of effects.
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No current Rx required
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Medicines have benefits and some have risks. Always read the label and use only as directed. If symptoms persist or you have side effects see your health professional.
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