Candesartan | Side Effects, Dosage, Uses & More
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Generic Name:

candesartan, Oral tablet

All Brands

  • Atacand
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Highlights for candesartan

Oral tablet
1

Candesartan is an oral drug that’s used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure.

2

Your dose depends on your age, condition, other health problems, and response to the drug. Your doctor will decide a dose that’s right for you.

3

Common side effects include back pain, dizziness, and cold- or flu-like symptoms, such as sore throat and nasal congestion.

4

You shouldn’t take candesartan if you’re pregnant or plan to get pregnant. It can harm or even be fatal to your unborn baby.

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Tell your doctor if you have a heart, liver, or kidney problem, or currently have diarrhea or vomiting. Your dose of candesartan may need to be adjusted. Or you may need to stop taking this drug.

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 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, call your doctor right away.

High blood potassium

Candesartan can increase your blood levels of potassium. Your doctor will check your blood potassium levels during treatment with this drug.

Risk of low blood pressure

This drug may cause low blood pressure (hypotension). Your risk may be higher if you:

  • take water pills (diuretics)
  • eat a low salt diet
  • take other medicines that affect your blood pressure
  • get sick with vomiting or diarrhea
  • don’t drink enough fluids

Your doctor will monitor you for low blood pressure during dose changes. Let your doctor know if you have symptoms of low blood pressure, such as dizziness or lightheadedness.

Kidney damage

This drug may cause kidney damage. People with certain types of kidney damage or heart failure may have a higher risk. Your doctor will check your kidney function while you’re taking candesartan.

Drug features

Candesartan is a prescription drug. It is available as an oral tablet.

Candesartan 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.

This drug may be used as part of a combination therapy. That means you need to take it with other drugs.

Why it's used

Candesartan is used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure.

How it works

Candesartan belongs to a class of drugs called angiotensin 2 receptor blocker.

More Details

How it works

Candesartan belongs to a class of drugs called angiotensin 2 receptor blocker. A class of drugs refers to medications that work similarly. They have a similar chemical structure and are often used to treat similar conditions.

Candesartan works by relaxing the blood vessels in your body. This helps reduce your blood pressure and lowers your chance of having a stroke or heart attack.

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candesartan Side Effects

Oral tablet

Most Common Side Effects

The most common side effects that occur with candesartan include:

  • back pain

  • dizziness

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

  • sore throat

  • nasal congestion

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.

  • low blood pressure. Symptoms include:

    • feeling faint or dizzy
    • lightheadedness
    • tiredness
  • worsening kidney problems. Symptoms include:

    • not urinating as much as normal
    • tiredness
    • shortness of breath
  • increased potassium levels in your blood. Symptoms include:

    • muscles weakness
    • feeling ill
    • heart rhythm changes
  • allergic reaction. Symptoms include:

    • swelling of your face, lips, tongue, and throat
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Candesartan does not cause drowsiness. 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.
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candesartan May Interact with Other Medications

Oral tablet

Candesartan 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

Medications that might interact with this drug

Pain medications

Candesartan may not work as well to decrease blood pressure when it’s taken with non-steroidal 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

Seizure medications

Candesartan can increase levels of seizure medicines in your body to dangerous levels. This can cause more side effects.

These drugs include:

  • lithium

High blood pressure drugs

Taking these medications with candesartan can increase your risk of very low blood pressure, high blood potassium levels, and worse kidney function. You shouldn’t use Atacand HCT 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, such as:
    • enalapril
    • lisinopril
    • captopril
  • aliskiren

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 warnings
diabetes
People with diabetes

If you have diabetes and are taking aliskiren, you shouldn’t take candesartan. It can increase your risk of high blood potassium, worse kidney function, and very low blood pressure.

low blood pressure
People with risk factors for low blood pressure

If you take a water pill, eat a low salt diet, are on dialysis, or have diarrhea or vomiting, you shouldn’t take candesartan. It may cause very low blood pressure.

kidney problems
People with kidney problems

This drug can make your kidney problems worse. Your doctor will monitor you kidney function during treatment and change your dose as needed.

pregnant women
Pregnant women

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

  1. Studies show a risk of adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. The benefits of taking the drug during pregnancy may outweigh the potential risks in certain cases.

You shouldn’t take candesartan if you’re pregnant. It may cause birth defects or be fatal to your unborn baby.

Tell your doctor if you’re pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Candesartan should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

breastfeeding
Women who are breast-feeding

It isn’t known if candesartan passes into breast milk. If it does, it may cause serious effects in a child who is breast-fed.

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

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. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dose or a different schedule.

for children
For children

Use of this drug in children depends on treatment.

As a treatment for high blood pressure, this medicine hasn’t been studied in very young children. It shouldn’t be used to treat high blood pressure in children younger than 1 year.

As a treatment for heart failure, this medicine hasn’t been studied in children and shouldn’t be used in people younger than 18 years to treat heart failure.

allergies
Allergies

Candesartan can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms include:

  • swelling of your face, lips, tongue, and throat

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it before. Taking it a second time after an allergic reaction could be fatal.

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How to Take candesartan (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 (hypertension)

Brand: Atacand

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 4 mg, 8 mg, 16 mg, 32 mg

Generic: candesartan

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 4 mg, 8 mg, 16 mg, 32 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)
  • The standard dose is 16 mg taken by mouth once daily if this drug is taken alone.
  • The total daily dose can range from 8–32 mg taken in 1 or 2 divided doses.
Child dosage (under 1 year of age)

This medicine hasn’t been studied in very young children and shouldn’t be used in children younger than 1 year.

Child dosage (ages 1–5 years)
  • The normal dose range is 0.050.4 mg/kg of body weight per day. The standard starting dose is 0.20 mg/kg per day.
  • The dose may be taken by mouth once per day or twice a day into two equal doses.
  • Consider using an oral suspension for children who cannot swallow tablets. Because this drug is not available as an oral suspension, your pharmacist may be able to prepare it for you.
Child dosage (ages 6–17 years)
  • Children who weigh less than 50 kg: The recommend starting dose is 48 mg per day. Doses can range from 216 mg/day.
  • Children who weigh 50 kg or more: The recommended starting dose is 8–16 mg per day. Doses can range from 432 mg per day.
  • The dose may be taken by mouth once per day or twice a day into two equal doses.
  • Consider using an oral suspension for children who cannot swallow tablets. Because this drug is not available as an oral suspension, your pharmacist may be able to prepare it for you.
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. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dose or a different schedule.

Special considerations

Adults with moderate liver problems: 8 mg per day.

Adults with severe kidney problems: A starting dose of 8 mg or less per day.

Children (1–17 years) with kidney problems: Children with poor kidney function (GFR is less than 30 ml/min/ 1.73 m2) shouldn’t take candesartan.

Heart failure

Brand: Atacand

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 4 mg, 8 mg, 16 mg, 32 mg

Generic: candesartan

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 4 mg, 8 mg, 16 mg, 32 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)

4 mg taken by mouth once per day. Your doctor may increase your dose to a maximum of 32 mg per day.

Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

This medicine hasn’t been studied in children and shouldn’t be used in people younger than 18 years for heart failure.

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. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dose or a different schedule.

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
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Candesartan 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 increases your risk of a heart attack or stroke.

If you’re taking candesartan for heart failure, your heart failure may get worse. Your symptoms of heart failure, such as shortness of breath, irregular heart rate, chest pain, and fatigue may also get worse. Heart failure can even be fatal.

If you stop taking it suddenly

You shouldn’t stop taking candesartan 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.

Stopping the drug suddenly may also worsen your symptoms of heart failure. You may have increased shortness of breath, chest pain, more fatigue, and irregular heart rate.

If you don't take it on schedule

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

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. 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 toxic side effects.

How to tell this 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.

If you’re taking this drug for heart failure, you may be able to tell this drug is working if your symptoms, such as shortness of breath, chest pain, cough, and fatigue, get better.

Candesartan is a long-term drug treatment.

Important considerations for taking candesartan

This drug must be stored at the right temperature

  • Store candesartan at room temperature below 86°F (30°C).
  • Don’t freeze candesartan.
  • Keep it away from high temperature.
  • Keep your drugs away from areas where they could get wet, such as bathrooms. Store this drug away from moisture and damp locations in tightly closed container.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry it with you in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport x-ray machines. They can’t hurt this medication.
  • You may need to show your pharmacy’s label to clearly identify the medication. Keep the original prescription label with you when traveling.

Clinical monitoring

Your doctor may monitor the following during your treatment with candesartan:

  • kidney function. This drug can make kidney problems worse. Your doctor will monitor you kidney function and make changes to your dose as needed.
  • liver function. If you have liver problems, higher levels of candesartan can build up in your body. Your dose may need to be adjusted by your doctor.
  • blood pressure. Your doctor will check your blood pressure to make sure candesartan is working for you.
  • blood potassium levels. Candesartan can increase blood levels of potassium.

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.

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How Much Does candesartan Cost?

Oral tablet

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Lowest price for candesartan

Walmart $32.77
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Walgreens $56.82
These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for candesartan on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

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These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for candesartan on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

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 7, 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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