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

irbesartan, Oral tablet

All Brands

  • Avapro
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Highlights for irbesartan

Oral tablet
1

Irbesartan is an oral drug that’s used to lower your blood pressure. It’s also given to help your kidneys function better if you have type 2 diabetes.

2

The standard dose is 150 mg taken by mouth once per day to lower blood pressure. The dose is 300 mg taken once per day to treat kidney disease (nephropathy) in people with type 2 diabetes.

3

If you don’t have enough fluid in your blood vessels, your body will activate the renin-angiotensin system while you’re taking this drug to increase the amount of fluid in your blood. Your renin-angiotensin system is already active if you have heart failure or renal artery stenosis, eat a low salt diet, or are dehydrated. If you take irbesartan when your renin-angiotensin system is activated, you can damage your kidneys.

4

You shouldn’t take this drug if you’re pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Irbesartan can harm or be fatal to fetus. If you get pregnant, stop taking this drug and tell your doctor right away.

5

Common side effects include diarrhea, heartburn, tiredness, and dizziness, especially when standing up from a sitting or lying position.

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.

Pregnancy warning. You shouldn’t take this drug if you’re pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Irbesartan can harm or be fatal to your unborn baby. If you get pregnant, stop taking this drug and tell your doctor right away.

Low blood pressure

If you take a water pill (diuretic) or you’re on dialysis, this drug may cause your blood pressure to drop too low. This may cause dizziness, lightheadedness, and headache.

Renin-angiotensin system

Renin-angiotensin system. If you don’t have enough fluid in your blood vessels, your body will activate the renin-angiotensin system while you’re taking this drug to increase your blood fluid. Your renin-angiotensin system is already active if you have heart failure or renal artery stenosis, eat a low-salt diet, or are dehydrated. If you take irbesartan when your renin-angiotensin system is activated, you can damage your kidneys.

What is irbesartan?

Irbesartan is a prescription drug. It’s available as an oral tablet.

Irbesartan 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.

Irbesartan may be taken in combination with other blood pressure-lowering medicines.

Why it's used

Irbesartan is used to lower your blood pressure. It’s also given to help your kidneys function better if you have type 2 diabetes.

How it works

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

More Details

How it works

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

Irbesartan works by blocking the effect of angiotensin. This makes your blood vessels relax more. It also allows your kidneys to get rid of extra water and salt. This helps lower your blood pressure.

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irbesartan Side Effects

Oral tablet

Most Common Side Effects

The most common side effects that occur with irbesartan include:

  • diarrhea

  • heartburn

  • tiredness

  • dizziness, especially when standing up from a sitting or lying position

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.

  • chest pain

  • very severe headache

  • allergic reaction. Symptoms include:

    • hives
    • trouble breathing
Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

Irbesartan doesn’t cause drowsiness.

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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irbesartan May Interact with Other Medications

Oral tablet

Irbesartan 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

Using alcohol while taking this drug can cause a sedative effect. You may have slowed reflexes, poor judgment, and sleepiness. This can be dangerous.

Medications that might interact with this drug

Blood pressure drugs

If you’re taking other medicines that lower your blood pressure like irbesartan does, it can increase your risk of high blood potassium levels, kidney damage, and low blood pressure (hypotension).

These drugs include:

  • aliskiren

Lithium

Irbesartan may increase the levels of lithium in your body. This may cause lithium toxicity.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

Using irbesartan with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can increase your risk of kidney damage. Your risk may be higher if you’re  a senior, take a water pill or are dehydrated, or already have poor kidney function. Irbesartan may also not work as well when taken with NSAIDs.

These drugs include:

  • ibuprofen
  • naproxen

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.
Irbesartan warnings
active renin-angiotensin system
People with an active renin-angiotensin system

If you have heart failure, renal artery stenosis, or low blood pressure (hypotension), your kidneys depend on the renin-angiotensin system. Using irbesartan can worsen your kidney function.

pregnant women
Pregnant women

Irbesartan 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.

This drug may harm or be fatal to your unborn baby.

Tell your doctor if you’re pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Irbesartan 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 irbesartan 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 this drug or breast-feed your child.

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 shouldn’t be used in people younger than 18 years.

allergies
Allergies

Irbesartan 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).

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How to Take irbesartan (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: Avapro

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 75 mg, 150 mg, and 300 mg

Generic: irbesartan

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 75 mg, 150 mg, and 300 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)
  • starting dose: 150 mg, taken by mouth, one time per day
  • Your doctor may increase your dose to 300 mg per day.
Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

This medicine hasn’t been studied in children under the age of 6 years. Although it was studied in younger children, it shouldn’t be used in people younger than 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. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dose or a different schedule.

Special considerations

People who take a water pill or are on dialysis: If you take a water pill or need dialysis for kidney problems, your doctor may start you at a lower dose of 75 mg once per day.

Diabetic nephropathy in type 2 diabetes

Brand: Avapro

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 75 mg, 150 mg, and 300 mg

Generic: irbesartan

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 75 mg, 150 mg, and 300 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)

300 mg, taken by mouth, one time per day

Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

This medicine hasn’t been studied in children under the age of 6 years. Although it was studied in younger children, it shouldn’t be used in people younger than 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. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dose or a different schedule.

Special considerations

People who take a water pill or are on dialysis: If you take a water pill or need dialysis for kidney problems, your doctor may start you at a lower dose of 75 mg once per day.

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

Irbesartan comes with serious risks if you don't take it as prescribed.

If you don't take it at all

Irbesartan reduces high blood pressure. If you don’t take it, your blood pressure will stay high. This will increase your chance of having a stroke or heart attack.

If you stop taking it suddenly

Don’t stop taking irbesartan without talking to your doctor. Stopping it suddenly can cause your blood pressure to spike. 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 or 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 of this drug, you might have the following symptoms:

  • feeling like your heart is pounding
  • weakness
  • dizziness

If you think that you’ve taken too much of your irbesartan, call your doctor right away or go to the emergency room.

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 if the drug is working<

You may be able to tell this drug is working if you check your blood pressure and it’s lower.

You might not be able to tell if this drug is helping your kidney function. However, you should keep taking it to stop your kidneys from getting more damaged.

Irbesartan is used for long-term treatment.

Important considerations for taking irbesartan

Store irbesartan at room temperature

Keep it from 68–77°F (20–25°C).

Don’t freeze irbesartan.

Keep it away from light and 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.

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.

Self-management

Your doctor may ask you to check your blood pressure at home. You should keep a log with the date, time of day, and your blood pressure readings. Bring this diary with you to your doctor appointments.

You may need to buy a blood pressure monitor to check your blood pressure at home. These are available at most pharmacies.

Clinical monitoring

During treatment with this drug, your doctor may check your:

  • levels of your blood cells
  • potassium levels
  • kidney function
  • blood pressure

Hidden costs

You may need to purchase a home blood pressure monitor to keep track of your blood pressure.

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 irbesartan Cost?

Oral tablet

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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 9, 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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