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Generic Name:

olmesartan, Oral tablet

All Brands

  • Benicar
SECTION 1 of 5

Highlights for olmesartan

Oral tablet
1

Olmesartan is an oral drug that’s used to treat high blood pressure. It may be used alone or in combination with other medicines to lower your blood pressure.

2

The maximum dose for adults is 40 mg taken by mouth once per day. Olmesartan can be used in children 6 years and older. The dosing is lower for children.

3

If you have diabetes, you shouldn’t take this drug. Doing so may increase your risk of heart problems or death.

4

You shouldn’t use this drug during pregnancy. Olmesartan can harm or be fatal to your developing baby. If you plan to become pregnant, talk to your doctor about other ways to lower your blood pressure.

5

Common side effects include back pain, bronchitis, diarrhea, headache, blood in your urine, high blood sugar, flu-like symptoms, and more.

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 use this drug during pregnancy. Olmesartan can harm or be fatal to your developing baby. If you become pregnant, stop taking olmesartan right away and call your doctor. If you plan to get pregnant, talk to your doctor about other ways to lower your blood pressure.

Low blood pressure

This drug can cause your blood pressure to drop too low. If you also take a water pill (diuretic) or if you’re dehydrated, you have a higher risk of your blood pressure dropping too low. This may cause dizziness, lightheadedness, and a headache.

Kidney damage

If you don’t have enough fluid in your blood vessels, your body will activate the renin-angiotensin system to increase your blood fluid. Your renin-angiotensin system is already active if you have heart failure, renal artery stenosis, low salt diet, or dehydration. If you take olmesartan when your renin-angiotensin system is activated, you risk serious kidney damage.

Diarrhea and weight loss

This drug may cause severe, long-term diarrhea with weight loss if you take it for a long time (months to years). If your doctor can’t find another cause for your diarrhea and weight loss, you may need to stop taking olmesartan.

What is olmesartan?

This drug is a prescription drug. It’s available as a film-coated oral tablet.

This drug isn’t available as a generic drug.

This drug may be taken as part of a combination therapy with other blood pressure-lowering medicines.

Why it's used

This drug is used to lower high blood pressure.

How it works

This drug belongs to a class of drugs called angiotensin receptor blockers.

More Details

How it works

This drug 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.

This drug blocks the action of angiotensin II, a chemical in your body that causes your blood vessels to tighten and narrow. This drug helps to relax and widen your blood vessels. This lowers your blood pressure.

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SECTION 2 of 5

olmesartan Side Effects

Oral tablet

Most Common Side Effects

The most common side effects that occur with olmesartan include:

  • back pain

  • bronchitis

  • diarrhea

  • headache

  • blood in your urine

  • high blood sugar

  • high triglycerides

  • flu-like symptoms, such as fever and body aches

  • sore throat, runny nose, and sinus infection

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

Call your doctor right away if you have any of these serious side effects. Call 9-1-1 if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

  • serious allergic reaction. Symptoms include:

    • swelling of your face, lips, throat, or tongue
  • low blood pressure (hypotension). Symptoms include:

    • faintness
    • dizziness
  • liver problems. Symptoms include:

    • nausea
    • pain in the right upper part of your stomach
    • yellowing of the whites of your eyes and your skin
    • itchy skin
  • kidney problems. Symptoms include:

    • swelling of your feet, ankles, or hands
    • weight gain
Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

This drug 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.
SECTION 3 of 5

olmesartan May Interact with Other Medications

Oral tablet

Olmesartan can interact with other medications, herbs, or vitamins you might be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or cause the drugs that you take to not work as well. To help prevent interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

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

Bipolar disorder drug

Olmesartan may increase the levels of your bipolar disorder medicine in your body. This may lead to toxicity.

These drugs include:

  • lithium

Blood pressure medicines

If you’re taking other medicines that work on the renin-angiotensin system like olmesartan does, it can increase your risk of high blood potassium levels, kidney damage, and low blood pressure (hypotension).

These drugs include:

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

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

Taking these drugs together can increase your risk of kidney damage. Your risk may be higher if you’re a senior, take a water pill, are dehydrated, or already have poor kidney function. Also, NSAIDs may decrease the effect of olmesartan. This means that it may not work as well to lower your blood pressure.

These drugs include:

  • ibuprofen
  • naproxen

Cosevelam

Colesevelam reduces the amount of olmesartan that your body absorbs. You should take olmesartan at least 4 hours before you take colesevelam.

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

This drug activates your renin-angiotensin system. If you have heart failure, renal artery stenosis, or low blood pressure (hypotension), your renin-angiotensin system is already active. If you take olmesartan when your renin-angiotensin system is active, you risk serious kidney damage.

diabetes
People with diabetes

You shouldn’t take this drug if you have diabetes. Some research shows that this drug increases the risk of heart problems and death in people with diabetes.

pregnant women
Pregnant women

This drug 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 this drug passes into breast milk. If it does, it may cause side effects in a child who is breast-fed.

Talk to your doctor if you breast-feed your baby. You may need to decide whether to stop breast-feeding or stop taking this medication.

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 under 6 years of age and shouldn’t be used in children under the age of 1 year.

allergies
Allergies

This drug 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 5

How to Take olmesartan (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: Benicar

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 5 mg, 20 mg, and 40 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)

The starting dose is 20 mg taken by mouth once per day. Your doctor may increase your dose up to 40 mg after 2 weeks.

Child dosage (ages 17 years)

The starting dose is 20 mg taken by mouth once per day. Your doctor may increase your dose up to 40 mg after 2 weeks.

Child dosage (ages 6-16 years)
  • starting dose:
    • for people who weigh 44–77 pounds (20–35 kg): 10 mg taken by mouth once per day
    • for people who weigh 77 pounds or more (35 kg or more): 20 mg taken by mouth once per day
  • dose changes: After 2 weeks, your doctor may increase your dose to 20 mg if you were taking 10 mg, or 40 mg if you were taking 20 mg.
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
  • If the child cannot swallow a tablet, an oral suspension can be made using the tablets. Ask your pharmacist to make this for you if needed.
  • If you have conditions that make you have less fluid than normal, like taking a water pill every day or having to go do dialysis for kidney problems, then you may need a lower dose at first.  Your doctor will decide what’s best for you.
  • People who are black usually have low renin, so the blood pressure-lowering effect of olmesartan may be less effective.

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

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

If you don't take it at all

This drug reduces high blood pressure. Medicines that lower your blood pressure reduce your chance of having a stroke or heart attack.

If you stop taking It suddenly

Don’t stop taking this drug without talking to your doctor. Stopping the drug suddenly may 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:

  • weakness
  • dizziness
  • feeling like your heart is pounding or beating slower

If you think that you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor 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 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. Your doctor will also monitor your blood pressure regularly.

This drug is a long-term drug treatment.

Important considerations for taking this drug
take with or without food
This drug may be taken with or without food
timing
Take this drug at the same time each day
can crush or cut
You can crush or cut the tablet
storage
Store this drug at room temperature
See Details
refillable
Prescription is refillable
travel
Travel
See Details
self-management
Self-management
See Details
clinical monitoring
Clinical monitoring
See Details
hidden costs
Hidden Costs
See Details

Store this drug at room temperature

Keep it from 68–77°F (20–25°C).

Don’t freeze this drug.

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

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

Clinical monitoring

While you’re being treated with this drug, your doctor will monitor your:

  • blood pressure
  • kidney function
  • cholesterol levels
  • blood sugar levels

Hidden costs

If your doctor asks you to check your blood pressure at home, you’ll need a blood pressure monitor.

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.

SECTION 5 of 5

How Much Does olmesartan Cost?

Oral tablet

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Lowest price for olmesartan

Walmart $64.64
Walgreens $105.10
Rite-Aid $122.78
These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for olmesartan on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

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

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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 4, 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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