Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Do not take candesartan if you are pregnant. If you become pregnant while you are taking candesartan, stop taking candesartan and call your doctor immediately. Candesartan may cause death or serious injury to the fetus when taken in the last 6 months of pregnancy.
Why is this medication prescribed?
Candesartan is used alone or in combination with other medications to treat high blood pressure. Candesartan is also used alone or in combination with other medications to treat congestive heart failure (a condition when your heart can not pump enough blood to the other parts of the body). Candesartan is in a class of medications called angiotensin II receptor antagonists. It works by blocking the action of certain natural substances that tighten the blood vessels, allowing the blood to flow more smoothly and the heart to pump more efficiently.
High blood pressure is a common condition, and when not treated it can cause damage to the brain, heart, blood vessels, kidneys, and other parts of the body. Damage to these organs may cause heart disease, a heart attack, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure, loss of vision, and other problems. In addition to taking medication, making lifestyle changes will also help to control your blood pressure. These changes include eating a diet that is low in fat and salt, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising at least 30 minutes most days, not smoking, and using alcohol in moderation.
How should this medicine be used?
Candesartan comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken once or twice a day with or without food. To help you remember to take candesartan, take it at around the same time(s) every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take candesartan exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Your doctor will probably start you on a low dose of candesartan and gradually increase your dose not more than once every 2 weeks.
Candesartan controls high blood pressure but does not cure it. Your blood pressure may decrease during the first 2 weeks of your treatment, but it may take 4 to 6 weeks for you to notice the full benefit of candesartan. Continue to take candesartan even if you feel well. Do not stop taking candesartan without talking to your doctor.
Other uses for this medicine
Candesartan is also sometimes used to treat diabetic nephropathy (kidney disease in people with diabetes and high blood pressure). Talk to your doctor about the risks of using this medication for your condition.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking candesartan,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to candesartan, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in candesartan tablets. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
- tell your doctor if you have diabetes (high blood sugar) and you are taking aliskiren (Tekturna, in Amturnide, Tekamlo, Tekturna HCT). Your doctor will probably tell you not to take candesartan if you have diabetes and you are also taking aliskiren.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors such as benazepril (Lotensin, in Lotrel), captopril (Capoten, in Capozide), enalapril (Vasotec), fosinopril, lisinopril (in Prinzide, in Zestoretic), moexipril (Univasc, in Uniretic), perindopril, (Aceon), quinapril (Accupril, in Accuretic, in Quinaretic), ramipril (Altace), and trandolapril (Mavik, in Tarka); aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), diuretics ('water pills') including spironolactone (Aldactone, in Aldactazide); lithium (Lithobid); medications for diabetes; other medications for high blood pressure; and potassium supplements. Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had heart, kidney, or liver disease.
- tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking candesartan.
- you should know that candesartan may cause dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting when you get up too quickly from a lying position. This is more common when you first start taking candesartan. To help avoid this problem, get out of bed slowly, resting your feet on the floor for a few minutes before standing up.
- you should know that diarrhea, vomiting, not drinking enough fluids, and sweating a lot can cause a drop in blood pressure, which may cause lightheadedness and fainting. Tell your doctor if you have any of these problems or develop them during your treatment.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Do not use salt substitutes containing potassium without talking to your doctor. If your doctor prescribes a low-salt or low-sodium diet, follow these directions carefully.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Candesartan may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- back pain
- sore throat
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms or those listed in the SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS section, call your doctor immediately:
- swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- decreased urination
Candesartan may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
Symptoms of overdose may include the following:
- fast or slow heart beat
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your blood pressure should be checked regularly to determine your response to candesartan.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
Brand names of combination products
- Atacand HCT® (containing Hydrochlorothiazide, Candesartan)