If you have certain heart problems or diabetes, your doctor may prescribe losartan for you. It’s a prescription drug that’s used to:

  • treat high blood pressure in adults and some children
  • lower the risk of stroke in adults* with high blood pressure and left ventricular hypertrophy (thickening of the muscles in the left ventricle of the heart)
  • treat diabetic nephropathy (a type of kidney disease related to diabetes) in certain adults with type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, either currently or in the past

To learn more about these conditions and how losartan treats them, see the “What is losartan oral tablet used for?” section below.

* For this use, your race may affect how your body responds to losartan oral tablets. For more information, talk with your doctor. They can tell you whether losartan is right for you.

Losartan oral tablet basics

Losartan’s classification is an angiotensin II receptor blocker. It comes as tablets that you’ll swallow.

In this article, we’ll describe losartan’s side effects, how it’s taken, and more.

Losartan oral tablet brand-name versions

Losartan oral tablet is a generic drug. It’s also available in a brand-name version called Cozaar.

Losartan oral tablet is a generic drug, which means it’s an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. The brand-name medication that losartan oral tablets are based on is called Cozaar.

Generic drugs are thought to be as safe and effective as the brand-name drug they’re based on. In general, generics usually cost less than brand-name drugs do.

If you’d like to know more about using Cozaar instead of losartan oral tablets, talk with your doctor. Read this Healthline article to learn more about the differences between generic and brand-name drugs.

Like most drugs, losartan oral tablets may cause mild or serious side effects. The lists below describe some of the more common side effects that losartan oral tablets may cause. These lists don’t include all possible side effects.

Keep in mind that side effects of a drug can depend on:

  • your age
  • other health conditions you have
  • other medications you may be taking

Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you more about the potential side effects of losartan oral tablets. They can also suggest ways to help reduce side effects.

Mild side effects

Here’s a short list of some of the mild side effects that losartan oral tablets can cause. To learn about other mild side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist, or read losartan oral tablet’s prescribing information.

Mild side effects of losartan oral tablets that have been reported include:

Mild side effects of many drugs may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. But if they become bothersome, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

* For more information on this side effect, see the “Side effect focus” section below.

Serious side effects

Serious side effects from losartan oral tablets can occur, but they aren’t common. If you have serious side effects from losartan oral tablets, call your doctor right away. But if you think you’re having a medical emergency, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number.

Serious side effects of losartan oral tablets that have been reported include:

Note: To learn more about losartan’s boxed warning, see “Pregnancy and breastfeeding” in the “What should be considered before taking losartan oral tablet?” section below.

* For more information on this side effect, see the “Side effect focus” section below.

Side effect focus

Learn more about some of the side effects losartan oral tablets may cause.

Water retention

You may have water retention (buildup of fluid in your body) while you’re taking losartan oral tablets. This wasn’t a common side effect in studies of the drug.

Symptoms of water retention may include:

  • joint stiffness
  • puffiness of your belly or face
  • swollen ankles, feet, or hands
  • weight gain

What might help

Below are a few ways to help reduce water retention while taking losartan:

  • Elevate the swollen area.
  • Lower the amount of salt you consume.
  • Wear compression wraps or stockings on the swollen area.

Tell your doctor about any water retention you have while you’re taking losartan. This side effect can be a sign of kidney problems. If you have water retention, your doctor may order kidney function tests for you to make sure your kidneys are working correctly.

Low blood pressure

You may have low blood pressure while you’re taking losartan oral tablets. This was a common side effect in studies of the drug.

You might not have symptoms of low blood pressure unless your pressure is very low. Symptoms of very low blood pressure can include:

What might help

Your doctor will likely monitor your blood pressure while you’re using losartan. Be sure to tell them right away if you have symptoms of low blood pressure while taking this drug.

Additionally, your doctor may have you check your blood pressure with a home blood pressure monitor.

Dizziness

You may have dizziness while you’re taking losartan oral tablets. This was a common side effect in studies of the drug.

It’s also possible to have dizziness if you have low blood pressure, which is a possible side effect of losartan. For more information about this side effect, see the “Low blood pressure” section directly above.

What might help

Tell your doctor if you have dizziness while you’re taking losartan. They’ll likely check for possible causes of your dizziness, including low blood pressure.

If you feel dizzy while taking losartan, lie down or sit down right away. This can keep you from losing your balance, which could lead to falls and serious injuries.

Because of the risk of dizziness, you shouldn’t drive until you know how losartan oral tablets affect you.

Allergic reaction

Some people may have an allergic reaction to losartan oral tablets. Allergic reactions to losartan have occurred since the drug’s initial studies were done.

Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:

  • rash
  • itchiness
  • flushing (temporary warmth, redness, or deepening of skin color)

A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet. They can also include swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat, which can cause trouble breathing.

Call your doctor right away if you have an allergic reaction to losartan oral tablets. But if you think you’re having a medical emergency, call 911 or your local emergency number.

Your doctor will explain how you should take losartan oral tablets. They’ll also explain how much to take and how often. Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions. Below are commonly used dosages, but always take the dosage your doctor prescribes.

Taking losartan oral tablet

Losartan comes as tablets that you’ll swallow.

They’re available in the following strengths:

  • 25 milligrams (mg)
  • 50 mg
  • 100 mg

Dosage

Your prescribed dosage of losartan depends on:

  • your age
  • other health conditions you may have
  • the severity of your condition

The usual dosage range for losartan oral tablets is 50 mg to 100 mg once per day. The losartan dosage for older people is the same as the dosage for younger people.

The maximum dosage of losartan oral tablets is 100 mg per day.

Your doctor may prescribe the lowest dose of losartan (25 mg) if you have certain health conditions, such as liver problems.

You can take losartan in the morning, at night, or any time of day. But try to take your doses at the same time each day.

Taking losartan oral tablet with other drugs

Your doctor may prescribe other medications along with losartan to:

Losartan oral tablets may be used together with a calcium channel blocker, such as amlodipine (Norvasc). Losartan may also be used with certain diuretics, such as hydrochlorothiazide (Microzide). Losartan may also be used on its own.

If you have questions about using losartan oral tablets with other drugs, talk with your doctor.

Questions about taking losartan oral tablet

Here’s a list of common questions related to taking losartan oral tablets.

  • What if I miss a dose of losartan oral tablets? If you miss a dose of losartan, take it as soon as you remember. But if it’s almost time for your next dose, just skip the missed dose. Then take your next dose at its usual time. Don’t double your usual losartan dose to make up for the missed dose. Doing so may increase your risk for side effects from the drug. If you aren’t sure whether to take a dose or skip it, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Will I need to use losartan oral tablets long term? Yes, you may need to take losartan long term. If the drug is working for you and it’s not causing bothersome side effects, your doctor may continue prescribing it long term.
  • Can losartan oral tablets be chewed, crushed, or split? Yes, you may chew, crush, or split losartan oral tablets. In fact, the 50-mg tablets have a line scored across the middle, which makes them easier to split.
  • Should I take losartan oral tablets with food? You can take losartan oral tablets with or without food.
  • How long do losartan oral tablets take to work? Losartan starts working within 1 week of your first dose. But it may take 3 to 6 weeks for the drug to fully work. Your doctor will monitor your condition over time to make sure the drug is working for you.
Questions for your doctor

You may have questions about losartan oral tablets and your treatment plan. It’s important to discuss all your concerns with your doctor.

Here are a few tips that might help guide your discussion:

  • Before your appointment, write down questions such as:
    • How will losartan oral tablets affect my body, mood, or lifestyle?
  • Bring someone with you to your appointment if doing so will help you feel more comfortable.
  • If you don’t understand something related to your condition or treatment, ask your doctor to explain it to you.

Remember, your doctor and other healthcare professionals are available to help you. And they want you to get the best care possible. So don’t be afraid to ask questions or offer feedback on your treatment.

Find answers to some commonly asked questions about losartan oral tablets.

Is losartan an angiotensin receptor blocker, ACE inhibitor, beta-blocker, diuretic, or blood thinner?

Losartan belongs to a group of drugs called angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs).

Losartan doesn’t belong to any of the following groups of drugs:

The groups of drugs listed above are used to treat high blood pressure and other heart problems. Each group works differently in the body.

If you have questions about how losartan or other ARBs compare with ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers, blood thinners, or diuretics, talk with your doctor.

Has losartan been recalled?

Yes, losartan was first recalled back in 2018.

A drug recall happens when a drug is removed from the market and is no longer available. This usually happens because of a safety issue. For example, the drug may contain an unexpected ingredient that shouldn’t be in it.

Losartan and other angiotensin II receptor blockers were recalled because they accidentally contained an ingredient that was known to cause cancer.

Since 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has worked with losartan’s manufacturers to ensure losartan products don’t contain this unwanted ingredient.

To find out if your losartan prescription has been affected by this drug recall, you can visit the FDA’s website for a list of recalled products.

If you have questions about the losartan recall, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Does losartan interact with bananas, grapefruit, or coffee?

There aren’t any known interactions between losartan and bananas, grapefruit, or coffee.

But losartan may cause a high level of potassium in your blood. Bananas are rich in potassium. So it’s possible that eating bananas while taking losartan can increase your risk for this side effect.

Also, drinking coffee can increase your blood pressure. And losartan is used to lower blood pressure. So if you drink coffee while taking losartan, the drug may not work as well for you.

If you have questions about taking losartan with certain foods or drinks, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

How does losartan work? And what’s its half-life?

Losartan belongs to a group of drugs called angiotensin II receptor blockers. It works by blocking a hormone in your body called angiotensin. The way a drug works is called its mechanism of action.

Angiotensin causes many effects in your body, including:

  • constricting (tightening) your blood vessels, which increases your blood pressure
  • increasing the amount of salt and water in your body, which increases your blood pressure
  • lowering the amount of blood flow to your kidneys, which causes kidney problems

By blocking angiotensin, losartan relaxes your blood vessels and increases blood flow to your kidneys. This lowers your blood pressure and helps your kidneys work correctly.

The half-life of losartan is about 2 hours. The half-life of a drug is the amount of time it takes for half of the drug’s dose to leave your body. In other words, it takes about 2 hours for half of a losartan dose to leave your body.

How does losartan compare with lisinopril, telmisartan, and irbesartan?

Losartan, telmisartan (Micardis), and irbesartan (Avapro) belong to a group of drugs called angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs). Lisinopril (Zestril) belongs to a different group of drugs called angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors.

ARBs and ACE inhibitors are used to treat high blood pressure and other heart problems. Both ARBs and ACE inhibitors work by blocking a hormone in your body called angiotensin. The drugs block this hormone in different ways.

To learn more about how losartan compares with telmisartan, irbesartan, and lisinopril, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can recommend which drug is right for you.

Does losartan cause a cough?

Yes, losartan can cause a cough.

Losartan belongs to a group of drugs called angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs). A different group of drugs called angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors commonly cause cough.

In fact, an ARB, such as losartan, is sometimes prescribed as an alternative for people who have a cough with an ACE inhibitor.

If you had a cough while taking an ACE inhibitor, you may still get a cough while taking an ARB.

If you’re concerned about your risk for cough while you’re using losartan, talk with your doctor.

When considering losartan oral tablets, it’s important to talk with your doctor. Tell them about:

  • other medications you take
  • all of your health conditions

Be sure to tell your doctor if you have kidney or liver problems. Also, let them know if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.

These and other considerations are described in more detail below.

Interactions

Taking medications, vaccines, foods, and other things with a certain drug can affect how the drug works. These effects are called interactions.

Before taking losartan oral tablets, be sure to tell your doctor about all medications you take, including prescription and over-the-counter types. Also describe any vitamins, herbs, or supplements you use. Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you about any interactions these items may cause with losartan oral tablets.

Interactions with drugs or supplements

Losartan oral tablets can interact with several types of drugs. These drugs include:

This list does not contain all types of drugs that may interact with losartan oral tablets. Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you more about these interactions and any others that may occur with use of losartan.

* Because of this interaction, you should not take losartan if you have diabetes and are taking aliskiren. For more information, see the “Other warnings” section below.

Boxed warning

Losartan oral tablets have a boxed warning about harm if they’re used during pregnancy. This is a serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about drug effects that may be dangerous.

For more information, see the “Pregnancy and breastfeeding” section below.

Other warnings

Losartan oral tablets may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors that affect your health. Talk with your doctor about your health history before you take losartan oral tablets. Factors to consider include those in the list below.

  • Kidney problems. Tell your doctor if you have kidney problems before starting losartan. This is because losartan can cause kidney problems, such as acute (sudden) kidney failure. You may have a higher risk for this side effect if you already have kidney problems before taking the drug. Your doctor will order kidney function tests for you while you’re taking this drug. They’ll give you more information about whether it’s safe for you to take losartan.
  • Liver problems. Tell your doctor if you have liver problems, such as liver failure, before starting losartan. If you have liver problems, your body won’t break down losartan as effectively as normal. So your doctor may have to give you a lower dose than usual of the drug.
  • Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to losartan or any of its ingredients, you shouldn’t take losartan. Ask your doctor what other medications are better options for you.
  • Diabetes and taking aliskiren. You shouldn’t take losartan if you have diabetes and are taking a blood pressure drug called aliskiren (Tekturna). Taking both of these drugs can increase your risk for certain side effects from losartan. These side effects include low blood pressure, high potassium level, and acute (sudden) kidney failure. If you have diabetes and you’re taking aliskiren, tell your doctor before starting losartan. They’ll likely prescribe a drug other than losartan for you.

Use with alcohol

There aren’t any known interactions between alcohol and losartan oral tablets.

But alcohol causes some of the same side effects as losartan does. So you may have a higher risk for these side effects if you drink alcohol while you’re taking this drug.

Below are a few side effects that alcohol and losartan share:

If you drink alcohol, talk with your doctor about an amount that’s safe for you to drink while you’re taking losartan.

* Losartan oral tablet has a boxed warning for this side effect. This is a serious warning from the FDA. For more information, see “Pregnancy and breastfeeding” just below.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

You shouldn’t take losartan oral tablets if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant. In fact, the drug has a boxed warning about harm if used during pregnancy. A boxed warning is a serious warning from the FDA.

Losartan can cause pregnancy loss. The drug can also cause harm to an unborn fetus.

Examples of problems that have happened in infants born to people who took losartan during pregnancy include:

The risk of these problems is higher if losartan is taken during your second or third trimester of pregnancy.

If you become pregnant while taking losartan, stop taking the drug and tell your doctor right away.

It isn’t known if losartan passes into breast milk. It may not be safe to use the drug while you’re breastfeeding.

If you’re breastfeeding or planning to breastfeed while taking losartan, talk with your doctor. They’ll likely recommend that you don’t breastfeed while taking this drug. So you may need to decide whether to take losartan or to breastfeed.

If you have heart problems or diabetes, your doctor may prescribe losartan for you. It’s a blood pressure medicine. But it’s used for other conditions, too.

Specifically, losartan is used for the following purposes:

  • Treat high blood pressure. To treat high blood pressure, losartan is used in adults and children ages 6 years and older. Blood pressure describes the force of blood pushing against the walls of your blood vessels. High blood pressure happens when this force is higher than usual.
  • Lower the risk of stroke. To lower the risk of stroke, losartan is used in adults* with high blood pressure and left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH). LVH causes an increase in the thickness of the muscles in the left ventricle of the heart. People with LVH have a higher risk for stroke because their heart doesn’t pump blood effectively.
  • Treat diabetic nephropathy (DN). Losartan is used in adults to treat DN. DN is a type of kidney disease that occurs in people with diabetes. For this use, adults must have all of the following conditions:
    • Type 2 diabetes. With type 2 diabetes, your blood sugar level is higher than normal.
    • High blood pressure, either currently or in the past.
    • High level of creatinine in their blood. Creatinine is a substance that forms in the body when muscles break down naturally. A high creatinine level usually means your kidneys aren’t working correctly.
    • High level of protein in their urine. This usually means the kidneys aren’t working correctly.

Losartan works by blocking a hormone in your body called angiotensin. By blocking this hormone, losartan lowers your blood pressure and helps your kidneys work correctly.

For more information, see “How does losartan work?” in the “What are some frequently asked questions about losartan oral tablet?” section above.

* Your race may affect how your body responds to losartan oral tablets. For more information, talk with your doctor. They can tell you whether losartan is right for you.

Both losartan and valsartan (Diovan) belong to a group of drugs called angiotensin II receptor blockers.

Losartan and valsartan are both used to treat high blood pressure. Each drug is used for other purposes, too.

If you’d like to know more about how these drugs are similar and different, see this comparison. Talk with your doctor to see which drug is right for you.

Don’t take more losartan oral tablets than your doctor prescribes. Using more than this can lead to serious side effects.

Symptoms of overdose

Symptoms caused by an overdose can include:

What to do in case you take too much losartan oral tablet

Call your doctor if you think you’ve taken too much losartan or if you accidentally took a double dose. You can also call 800-222-1222 to reach the American Association of Poison Control Centers, or use its online resource. But if you have severe symptoms, immediately call 911 (or your local emergency number) or go to the nearest emergency room.

Costs of prescription drugs can vary depending on many factors. These factors include what your insurance plan covers and which pharmacy you use. To find current prices for losartan oral tablets in your area, visit GoodRx.com.

Financial assistance to help you pay for losartan oral tablets may be available. Medicine Assistance Tool and NeedyMeds are two websites that provide resources to help reduce the cost of losartan oral tablets.

These websites also offer tools to help you find low-cost healthcare and certain educational resources. To learn more, visit the websites.

Losartan is a prescription drug that’s used in certain situations to:

If you have questions about taking losartan for any of these purposes, talk with your doctor.

Other treatment options are available for these conditions. You can learn more about other treatment options for high blood pressure by reading this article.

Here’s a list of questions you can ask your doctor about losartan oral tablets:

  • Can I take 200 milligrams (mg) of losartan each day?
  • Can losartan use lead to erectile dysfunction (ED)?
  • Does losartan cause hair loss?
  • Is losartan used to treat COVID-19?
  • What do losartan oral tablets look like?

Additionally, to stay up to date on heart health information, you can sign up for Healthline’s heart health newsletter.

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.