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Candesartan, Oral Tablet

Highlights for candesartan

  1. Candesartan is available as both a generic and brand-name drug. Brand name(s): Atacand.
  2. Candesartan is an oral drug used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure.
  3. Common side effects of candesartan include back pain, dizziness, and cold- or flu-like symptoms such as sore throat and nasal congestion.
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Important warnings

Important warnings

FDA warning: Avoid during pregnancy
  • 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.
  • Don’t take candesartan if you’re pregnant. It may cause birth defects or end your pregnancy. If you get pregnant or plan to become pregnant, call your doctor right away.
  • High blood potassium warning: 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 warning: This drug may cause low blood pressure (hypotension). Your doctor will monitor you for low blood pressure during dosage changes. Let your doctor know if you have symptoms of low blood pressure, such as dizziness or lightheadedness. Your risk of low blood pressure may be higher if you:
    • take water pills (diuretics)
    • eat a low-salt diet
    • take other medications that affect your blood pressure
    • get sick with vomiting or diarrhea
    • don’t drink enough fluids
  • Kidney damage warning: 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.

About

What is candesartan?

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

Candesartan is available as the brand-name drug Atacand. It’s also 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-name version.

Why it's used

Candesartan is used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure. This drug may be used as part of a combination therapy. That means you need to take it with other drugs.

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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Side effects

Candesartan side effects

Candesartan oral tablet does not cause drowsiness, but it can cause other side effects.

More common side effects

The more common side effects that can occur with candesartan include:

Candesartan may cause dizziness. While taking this drug, be careful when driving, using machinery, or doing other tasks that require alertness.
  • 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

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • low blood pressure, with symptoms such as:
    • feeling faint or dizzy
    • lightheadedness
    • tiredness
  • worsening kidney problems, with symptoms such as:
    • not urinating as much as normal
    • tiredness
    • shortness of breath
  • increased potassium levels in your blood, with symptoms such as:
    • muscles weakness
    • feeling ill
    • heart rhythm changes
  • allergic reaction, with symptoms such as:
    • swelling of your face, lips, tongue, and throat

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.

Interactions

Candesartan may interact with other medications

Candesartan oral tablet 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.

Examples of drugs that can cause interactions with candesartan are listed below.

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.

Examples of these drugs include:

  • ibuprofen
  • naproxen
  • diclofenac

Seizure medications

Candesartan can increase levels of seizure drugs in your body to dangerous levels. This can cause more side effects. Examples of these drugs include:

  • lithium

High blood pressure drugs

Taking these medications with candesartan raise your risk of very low blood pressure, high blood potassium levels, and worsened kidney function.

Examples of these drugs include:

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

Drugs that increase potassium levels

Taking these medications with candesartan can increase your potassium levels. Examples of these drugs include:

  • potassium-sparing diuretics, such as:
    • amiloride
    • spironolactone
    • triamterene
  • potassium supplements
  • potassium-containing salt substitutes

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.

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Other warnings

Candesartan warnings

This drug comes with several warnings.

Allergy warning

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.

Warnings for people with certain health problems

For people with diabetes: If you have diabetes and are taking aliskiren, you shouldn’t take candesartan. It raises your risk of high blood potassium, worsened kidney function, and very low blood pressure.

For 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.

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

Warnings for certain groups

For 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.

For women who are breastfeeding: It isn’t known if candesartan passes into breast milk. If it does, it may cause serious effects in a child who is breastfed. You and your doctor may need to decide if you’ll take candesartan or breastfeed.

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: Use of this drug in children depends on treatment.

  • As a treatment for high blood pressure, this drug 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 drug hasn’t been studied in children. It shouldn’t be used in people younger than 18 years to treat heart failure.
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Dosage

How to take candesartan

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

Forms and strengths

Generic: candesartan

  • Form: oral tablet
  • Strengths: 4 mg, 8 mg, 16 mg, 32 mg

Brand: Atacand

  • Form: oral tablet
  • Strengths: 4 mg, 8 mg, 16 mg, 32 mg

Dosage for high blood pressure

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 (ages 6–17 years)

  • Children who weigh less than 50 kg: The recommended starting dosage is 48 mg per day. Doses can range from 216 mg/day.
  • Children who weigh 50 kg or more: The recommended starting dosage 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 in two equal doses.
  • For children who cannot swallow tablets, consider using an oral suspension. This drug is not available as an oral suspension, but your pharmacist may be able to prepare it for you.

Child dosage (ages 1–5 years)

  • The typical dosage range is 0.050.4 mg/kg of body weight per day. The standard starting dosage is 0.20 mg/kg per day.
  • The dose may be taken by mouth once per day, or twice a day in two equal doses.
  • For children who cannot swallow tablets, consider using an oral suspension. This drug is not available as an oral suspension, but your pharmacist may be able to prepare it for you.

Child dosage (under 1 year of age)

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

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 dosage considerations

  • For adults with moderate liver problems: 8 mg per day.
  • For adults with severe kidney problems: A starting dose of 8 mg or less per day.
  • For 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.

Dosage for heart failure

Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)

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

Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

This drug hasn’t been studied in children for treatment of heart failure. It shouldn’t be used in people younger than 18 years for this purpose.

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.

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Take as directed

Take as directed

Candesartan is a long-term drug treatment. It 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 raises 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 raises your risk of 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.

Important considerations

Important considerations for taking candesartan

Keep these considerations in mind if your doctor prescribes candesartan for you.

General

Candesartan tablets can be cut or crushed.

Storage

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

Refills

A prescription for this medication is not refillable. You or your pharmacy will have to contact your doctor for a new prescription if you need this medication refilled.

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

During your treatment with candesartan, your doctor may monitor your:

  • kidney function. This drug can make kidney problems worse. Your doctor will monitor your kidney function and make changes to your dosage as needed.
  • liver function. If you have liver problems, higher levels of candesartan can build up in your body. Your doctor may need to adjust your dosage.
  • 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.

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Alternatives

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.

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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