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Generic Name:

candesartan-hydrochlorothiazide, Oral tablet

All Brands

  • Atacand HCT
SECTION 1 of 4

Highlights for candesartan-hydrochlorothiazide

Oral tablet
1

Candesartan/hydrochlorothiazide is an oral drug that’s used to treat high blood pressure. This drug is a combination of two drugs, candesartan cilexetil and hydrochlorothiazide, in a single form.

2

Your doctor may start you on the 16 mg candesartan/12.5 mg hydrochlorothiazide dose. They may increase your dose based on how you respond to candesartan/hydrochlorothiazide.

3

Common side effects include upper respiratory tract infection, back pain, flu-like symptoms, and dizziness.

4

You shouldn’t take this drug if you’re pregnant. It can cause birth defects or be fatal to your unborn baby. If you get pregnant or plan to become pregnant while taking this drug, call your doctor right away.

5

You may feel lightheaded during the first few days of treatment with candesartan/hydrochlorothiazide. If you faint or pass out, stop using this drug until you talk to your doctor.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

FDA warning

This drug has a Black Box Warning. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A black box warning alerts doctors and patients to potentially dangerous effects.

Use during pregnancy warning. You shouldn’t take candesartan/hydrochlorothiazide if you’re pregnant. It may cause birth defects or be fatal to your unborn baby. If you get pregnant or plan to become pregnant while taking this drug, call your doctor right away.

Eye problems

Candesartan/hydrochlorothiazide can cause vision problems. Tell your doctor if you have blurry vision or eye pain.

Low electrolyte levels

Candesartan/hydrochlorothiazide can cause low blood potassium, sodium, and magnesium levels. You doctor will check your levels during treatment with this drug.

Low blood pressure

Candesartan/hydrochlorothiazide can cause low blood pressure (hypotension). Your risk may be higher if you:

  • take a water pill
  • eat a low salt diet
  • are on dialysis
  • have heart failure
  • have diarrhea or are vomiting

You may feel lightheaded during the first few days of taking this drug. If you faint or pass out, stop using candesartan/hydrochlorothiazide until you talk to your doctor.

What is candesartan/hydrochlorothiazide?

Candesartan/hydrochlorothiazide is a prescription drug. It’s available as an oral tablet.

Candesartan/hydrochlorothiazide is available as a generic drug. Generic drugs usually cost less. In some cases they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand. Talk to your healthcare provider to see if the generic will work for you.

Candesartan/hydrochlorothiazide is a combination of two drugs in a single form. It’s important to know about all the drugs in the combination because they each may have unique traits.

Candesartan/hydrochlorothiazide may be taken as part of a combination therapy with other medication for high blood pressure.

Why it's used

Candesartan/hydrochlorothiazide is used to treat high blood pressure.

How it works

These two drugs work in different ways to reduce your blood pressure.

More Details

How it works

These two drugs work in different ways to reduce your blood pressure.Candesartan/hydrochlorothiazide belongs to a class of drugs called angiotensin receptor II antagonists. Hydrochlorothiazide (HCT) belongs to a class of drugs called diuretics. A class of drugs refers to medications that work similarly. They are often used to treat similar conditions.

Candesartan/hydrochlorothiazide works by relaxing the blood vessels in your body. Hydrochlorothiazide reduces the amount of salt and water in your body. This makes your blood pressure lower.

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SECTION 2 of 4

candesartan-hydrochlorothiazide Side Effects

Oral tablet

Most Common Side Effects

The most common side effects that occur with candesartan/hydrochlorothiazide include:

  • upper respiratory tract infections

  • back pain

  • flu-like symptoms, such as fever, cough, sneezing, and a runny nose

  • dizziness

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious Side Effects

If you experience any of these serious side effects, call your doctor right away. If your symptoms are potentially life threatening, or if you think you’re experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

  • liver problems and liver infection (hepatitis). Symptoms include:

    • tiredness
    • weakness
    • loss of appetite
    • nausea
    • vomiting
    • yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes
    • color changes to your stool
  • low blood cell counts. Symptoms include:

    • weakness
    • fever
    • sore throat
  • allergic reaction. Symptoms include:

    • swelling of your face, lips, tongue, and throat
    • hives
    • trouble breathing
    • sensitivity to sunlight
  • high blood potassium and sodium levels. Symptoms include:

    •  heart rhythm problems
    •  weakness
    •  slow heart rate
    •  excessive thirst
    •  confusion
  • cough

  • itching, skin rash, and hives

  • pancreas problems. Symptoms include:

    • yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes (jaundice)
    • pain and swelling of the salivary glands in your mouth
    • cramping in the upper part of your stomach
    • constipation
    • stomach pain
    • loss of appetite
  • muscle spasms

  • skin problems

  • blurry vision

  • sexual problems, such as being unable to get or keep an erection (erectile dysfunction)

Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

Candesartan/hydrochlorothiazide doesn’t cause drowsiness, but it may cause dizziness. Be careful when driving, using machinery, or doing other tasks that require alertness.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
SECTION 3 of 4

candesartan-hydrochlorothiazide May Interact with Other Medications

Oral tablet

Candesartan/hydrochlorothiazide can interact with other medications, herbs, or vitamins you might be taking. That’s why your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. If you’re curious about how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Note: You can reduce your chances of drug interactions by having all of your prescriptions filled at the same pharmacy. That way, a pharmacist can check for possible drug interactions.

Alcohol interaction

Drinking alcohol while taking this drug might increase your risk for low blood pressure when you stand up (orthostatic hypotension). Limit your alcohol intake while taking candesartan/hydrochlorothiazide.

Medications that might interact with this drug

Barbiturates

Taking candesartan/hydrochlorothiazide with these drugs can increase your risk of very low blood pressure.

These drugs include:

  • phenobarbital
  • primidone
  • pentobarbital

Cholesterol drugs

These drugs can lower the levels of candesartan/hydrochlorothiazide in your body. You should take candesartan/hydrochlorothiazide 4 hours before or 4–6 hours after taking these drugs.

These drugs include:

  • colestipol
  • cholestyramine

Diabetes drugs

Candesartan/hydrochlorothiazide may increase your blood sugar levels. This means that your diabetes medications may not work as well. Your doctor may need to adjust the dose of your diabetes medications.

These drugs include:

  • insulin
  • glipizide
  • glyburide
  • pioglitazone
  • rosiglitazone
  • acarbose
  • miglitol
  • sitagliptin
  • saxagliptin

Heart drugs

Candesartan/hydrochlorothiazide can cause high levels of your heart drug in your body. This means that you may have more side effects from your heart medication.

These drugs include:

  • digoxin

High blood pressure medications

Taking these drugs with candesartan/hydrochlorothiazide can increase your risk of very low blood pressure, high blood potassium levels, and worse kidney function. You shouldn’t use candesartan/hydrochlorothiazide with aliskiren if you have diabetes or really bad kidney function.

These drugs include:

  • angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), such as:
    • losartan
    • valsartan
    • telmisartan
  • angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors:
    • enalapril
    • lisinopril
    • captopril
  • aliskiren

Lithium

Candesartan/hydrochlorothiazide can increase levels of lithium in your body to dangerous levels. This can cause more side effects.

Pain medications

This drug may not work as well to decrease blood pressure when it’s taken with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). If you’re a senior, taking water pills, are dehydrated, or have a history of kidney problems, your kidney function may get worse if you take these drugs together.

These drugs include:

  • NSAIDs, such as:
    • ibuprofen
    • naproxen
    • diclofenac

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.
Candesartan/hydrochlorothiazide warnings
high blood calcium
People with high blood calcium

Candesartan/hydrochlorothiazide can increase levels of calcium in your body and stop your body from getting rid of calcium. You shouldn’t use Candesartan/hydrochlorothiazide if you have high blood calcium.

diabetes
People with diabetes

Candesartan/hydrochlorothiazide can change your blood sugar levels. Your doctor will monitor this. You shouldn’t take candesartan/hydrochlorothiazide if you’re also taking aliskiren. Taking these two drugs together can raise your risk of high blood potassium, worse kidney function, and very low blood pressure.

high cholesterol
People with high cholesterol

Candesartan/hydrochlorothiazide can increase your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Your doctor will monitor this.

gout or high blood uric acid
People with gout or high blood uric acid levels

Candesartan/hydrochlorothiazide can increase levels of uric acid in your body. If you have gout, this drug may make your condition worse.

lupus
People with lupus

Candesartan/hydrochlorothiazide can make your lupus worse.

kidney problems
People with kidney problems

If your kidneys aren’t able to make urine, you shouldn’t take candesartan/hydrochlorothiazide. One of the drugs in candesartan/hydrochlorothiazide (hydrochlorothiazide) doesn’t work if your kidneys can’t make urine.

pregnant women
Pregnant women

Candesartan/hydrochlorothiazide is a category D pregnancy drug. That means two things:

  1. Research in humans has shown adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. This drug should only be used during pregnancy in serious cases where it's needed to treat a dangerous condition in the mother.

Talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Ask your doctor to tell you about the specific harm that may be done to the fetus. This drug should be only used if the potential risk to the fetus is acceptable given the drug’s potential benefit.

breastfeeding
Women who are breast-feeding

It isn’t known if candesartan/hydrochlorothiazidepasses into breast milk. If it does, it may cause serious effects in a breast-feeding child.

You and your doctor may need to decide if you’ll breast-feed or take candesartan/hydrochlorothiazide.

for seniors
For seniors

Older adults may process drugs more slowly. A normal adult dose may cause levels of this drug to be higher than normal in your body. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dose or a different schedule.

for children
For children

This medicine hasn’t been studied in children and shouldn’t be used in children under the age of 18 years.

allergies
Allergies

Candesartan/hydrochlorothiazide can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms include:

  • trouble breathing
  • swelling of your throat or tongue
  • hives

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could be fatal (cause death).

SECTION 4 of 4

How to Take candesartan-hydrochlorothiazide (Dosage)

Oral tablet

All possible dosages and forms may not be included here. Your dose, form, and how often you take it will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What are you taking this medication for?

High blood pressure

Brand: Atacand HCT

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths:
  • 16 mg candesartan cilexetil/12.5mg hydrochlorothiazide
  • 32 mg candesartan cilexetil/12.5 mg hydrochlorothiazide
  • 32 mg candesartan cilexetil/25 mg hydrochlorothiazide
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)

The starting dose is 16 mg candesartan cilexetil/12.5 mg hydrochlorothiazide taken by mouth once per day. Your doctor may increase your dose based on how you respond to this drug. The maximum dose of candesartan/hydrochlorothiazide is 32 mg candesartan cilexetil/25 mg hydrochlorothiazide per day.

Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

This medicine hasn’t been studied in children and shouldn’t be used in children under the age of 18 years.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

There are no specific recommendations for senior dosing. Older adults may process drugs more slowly. A normal adult dose may cause levels of this drug to be higher than normal in your body. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dose or a different schedule.

Special considerations

Severe liver problems: You shouldn’t take candesartan/hydrochlorothiazide if you have severe liver problems.

Severe kidney problems: Use this drug with caution if you have severe kidney problems.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

Candesartan/hydrochlorothiazide comes with serious risks if you don't take it as prescribed.

If you don't take it at all

Your blood pressure may get worse. This may raise your risk of a heart attack or stroke.

If you stop taking It suddenly

You shouldn’t stop taking candesartan/hydrochlorothiazide without talking to your doctor. Stopping the drug suddenly can cause your blood pressure to get higher. This may increase your chance for a heart attack or stroke.

If you don't take it on schedule

Your blood pressure may not improve and it may get worse. You may have a higher chance of a heart attack or stroke.

If you take too much

If you take too much, you may:

  • feel dizzy
  • have very low blood pressure
  • have a high heart rate

If you think that you’ve taken too much candesartan/hydrochlorothiazide, call your doctor or local poison control center, or go to the emergency room right away.

What to do if you miss a dose

If you forget to take your dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it’s just a few hours until the time for your next dose, then wait and only take one dose at that time.

Never try to catch up by taking two doses at once. This could cause serious side effects.

How to tell if the drug is working

You may be able to tell that this drug is working if your blood pressure is lower. Your doctor will monitor your blood pressure at your checkups. You can also check your blood pressure at home. Keep a log with the date, time of day, and your blood pressure readings. Bring this diary with you to your doctor appointments.

Candesartan/hydrochlorothiazide is used for long-term treatment.

Important considerations for taking candesartan/hydrochlorothiazide
take with or without food
Candesartan/hydrochlorothiazide can be taken with or without food
can crush or cut
You may cut or crush candesartan/hydrochlorothiazide
storage
Store it at room temperature close to 77°F (25°C)
See Details
not refillable
Prescription is not refillable
travel
Travel
See Details
clinical monitoring
Clinical monitoring
See Details
not usually stocked
Not every pharmacy stocks this drug, so call ahead
prior authorization
Insurance
See Details

Store it at room temperature close to 77°F (25°C)

Do not freeze candesartan/hydrochlorothiazide.

Keep it away from high temperature.

Keep your drugs away from areas where they could get wet, such as bathrooms. Store these drugs away from moisture and damp locations.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you, such as in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport X-ray machines. They can’t hurt your medication.
  • You may need to show airport staff the pharmacy label for your medication. Always carry the original prescription-labeled box with you.
  • Don’t put this medication in your car’s glove compartment or leave it in the car. Be sure to avoid doing this when the weather is very hot or very cold.

Clinical monitoring

Before starting and during treatment with candesartan/hydrochlorothiazide, your doctor may monitor the following:

  • kidney function. Your doctor may adjust your dose or not give you this drug based on your kidney function.  
  • liver function. Your doctor may adjust your dose or not give you this drug based on your liver function.  
  • blood potassium, sodium, magnesium levels. Candesartan/hydrochlorothiazide can cause low electrolyte levels.
  • blood pressure. Your doctor will check your blood pressure to make sure Candesartan/hydrochlorothiazide is working for you.
  • eye function. This drug can cause vision problems.
  • blood calcium. Candesartan/hydrochlorothiazide can increase levels of calcium in your body.
  • blood sugar. This drug can change blood sugar levels.
  • cholesterol. Candesartan/hydrochlorothiazide can increase your cholesterol and triglycerides.
  • blood uric acid levels. This drug can increase levels of uric acid in your body. This can lead to gout.

Insurance

Many insurance companies require a prior authorization for this drug. This means your doctor will need to get approval from your insurance company before your insurance company will pay for the prescription.

Are there any alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be more suitable for you than others. Talk to your doctor about possible alternatives.


Show Sources

Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on September 3, 2015

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.
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