Irbesartan belongs to the group of medicines known as angiotensin receptor blockers. It is at times given along with blood pressure medicines or other class for enhanced effect.
Uses of Irbesartan
- It is used to treat high blood pressure
- It is also used to protect the kidney from high blood pressure and associated conditions like Type 2 diabetes
Contraindications of Irbesartan
When should one not use Irbesartan
- If you have an allergy to Irbesartan or any ingredients of the medicine
- If you are more than three months pregnant
- If you have diabetes or having a kidney problem
Side effects of Irbesartan
Common side effects of this drug are:
- Increased potassium levels in the blood – irregular heartbeats, chest pain, weakness, tingling
- Feeling dizzy, sickness (nausea), vomiting, raised heart muscle enzymes (like creatine kinase)
- Dizziness while getting up from a sitting or lying position (orthostatic hypotension), muscle and joint pains and low hemoglobin are common in patients with high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes
Precautions and Warnings of Irbesartan
Can I take Irbesartan during pregnancy?
Irbesartan should not be taken during pregnancy as it has the potential to harm the unborn baby.
Can I take Irbesartan while breastfeeding?
It is unknown whether Irbesartan is secreted in the breast milk and harm the baby. Due to lack of availability of sufficient data, avoid breastfeeding while you are on this medicine.
Can I drive if I have consumed Irbesartan?
Irbesartan is not known to affect your driving ability. If you experience any symptoms like dizziness or drowsiness, avoid driving.
Can I consume alcohol with Irbesartan?
Caution is advised as alcohol can lower blood pressure and increase the side effects of Irbesartan like sedation or drowsiness, especially when you start the treatment.
Other General Warnings
Talk to your doctor if
- You have excessive vomiting or loose motions
- You have kidney or heart problems
- You are suffering from diabetic kidney disease
- You are going to have any surgery
- You are taking any of the medicines used to treat high blood pressure and diabetes-related kidney problems (like Enalapril, Lisinopril, Ramipril, Aliskiren)
Mode of Action of Irbesartan
How Does It Work?
Angiotensin II is a hormone which narrows the blood vessels in kidneys, heart and lungs and increases the blood pressure. It also raises the levels of a substance called aldosterone, which acts on kidneys to increase salt and fluid levels in the body and further increases blood pressure. Irbesartan blocks the effects of this angiotensin II and thus has a dual effect of relieving blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels and protecting the kidney.
Interactions of Irbesartan
Interactions with other medicines
- ACE-inhibitor or Aliskiren
- Potassium supplements and salt substitutes containing potassium
- Medicines containing lithium
Interactions with food items
Irbesartan can be taken before or after meals.
Dietary Restrictions of Irbesartan
Avoid potassium supplements or salt substitutes unless advised by your physician. Some high potassium fruits and vegetables should be avoided.
Dosage of Irbesartan
Accidental or unintentional overdose with Irbesartan may not be harmful. But if you experience symptoms such as low blood pressure (dizziness, feeling light-headed or fainting), fast or slow heart rate, consult your doctor.
Missed a Dose
Take the missed dose as early as you remember. If the next dose is too near, continue with your next scheduled dose and skip the missed dose. Do not take a higher or a double dose to compensate for it. Ideally, there should be a 12-hour gap between 2 doses.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: Is there anything else I need to know before taking Irbesartan?
- Inform your doctor if you are suffering from any kidney, liver diseases or congestive heart failure (decreased pumping ability of the heart)
- Blood pressure, blood potassium and other electrolyte levels, and kidney function tests need to be checked regularly
- This medicine can be taken with or without food but you are advised to take this medicine at the same time every day to derive maximum benefit
- Irbesartan is slow to act and it may take 4-6 weeks to achieve the desired blood pressure levels
- Do not stop the medication a few weeks after starting because you do not see any improvement
- Its duration of action is also long and most commonly used once daily
- Dose adjustment may be required in the elderly
- Irbesartan should not be used in children and adolescents less than 18 years of age
Q: Is Irbesartan an effective medicine to control my blood pressure?
- Irbesartan is of particular benefit in patients who have associated high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes
- Irbesartan is commonly used with a water pill called hydrochlorothiazide to adequately control high blood pressure
- When used alone or in combination with hydrochlorothiazide, this medicine has demonstrated excellent safety and tolerability
- It is one of the safest blood pressure medicines, even when used for long term
- Apart from its protective effect on kidneys, Irbesartan has also shown benefits in high blood pressure patients with heart disease, especially heart failure (decreased pumping efficiency of the heart)
Last Updated on: 05 Oct 2020 | 10:47 PM (IST)
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