Irbesartan is a type of medicine known as an angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB) which is used to treat high blood pressure. It also helps to prevent strokes, heart attacks and kidney problems by lowering blood pressure.
Irbesartan works by blocking the actions of a hormone called angiotensin II. Angiotensin II normally acts to constrict the blood vessels, causing the blood pressure to increase. By blocking the action of this hormone, the blood vessels are wider and more relaxed, making it easier to pump blood around the body and reducing the blood pressure. Angiotensin II also promotes salt and water retention, which can increase blood pressure. Blocking the action of angiotensin II, therefore, reduces salt and water retention and reduces blood pressure.
Irbesartan will start to work after 3–6 hours. However, it can take 4-6 weeks for the medication to take full effect. High blood pressure often produces no symptoms so you may not feel any different after taking Irbesartan. This does not mean that the medication isn't working.
High blood pressure is diagnosed following a blood pressure test. This can be done at your GP surgery by a doctor, nurse or healthcare assistant. It can also be done at certain pharmacies or at home with a self-testing blood pressure monitor. If you are at risk of high blood pressure then it's recommended that you get checked up regularly. Risk factors include:
There are several possible causes of high blood pressure which may include underlying health conditions, particular medications and lifestyle risk factors. Health conditions that may predispose you to blood pressure include:
Medicines that may cause high blood pressure include:
On average, high blood pressure affects 1 in 4 adults within the UK. If it is left unnoticed or untreated then it leaves you at risk of experiencing serious conditions or health problems. These include:
Managing your blood pressure by using medication and adjusting your lifestyle habits reduces your risk of experiencing these circumstances.
The active ingredient in the medicine is Irbesartan.
Each tablet contains either a 75mg, 150mg or 300mg dose.
The inactive ingredients contained in Irbesartan are lactose monohydrate, croscarmellose sodium (E468), cellulose microcrystalline (E460), hypromellose E5 (E464), silica (E551), magnesium stearate (E572), macrogol 400 and titanium dioxide (E171).
Please note that different generic manufacturers may contain different inactive ingredients.
A severe allergic reaction to Irbesartan is a rare occurrence. However, if you are using the medication for the first time, you should look out for the signs of a severe allergic reaction which include difficulty breathing, hives, swelling of your eyes/lips/face and severe dizziness. If you develop any of these symptoms after taking the medication, please visit your local emergency department right away for medical attention.
Irbesartan should be taken once a day. Swallow the tablet whole with a full glass of water at around the same time each day. The medicine can be taken with or without food. Always take Irbesartan as your doctor has prescribed and continue to take it unless your doctor tells you to stop.
Irbesartan should be taken once a day. Swallow the tablet whole with a glass of water at around the same time each day. You may be advised to take the tablet at night before bedtime. The medicine can be taken with or without food. Always take Irbesartan as your doctor has prescribed and continue to take it unless your doctor tells you to stop.
Irbesartan is taken long term. It may be the case that you will need to take the medication for the rest of your life to keep your blood pressure under control.
If you forget to take Irbesartan, leave the missed dose and take the next one at your usual time. Do not take double the dose to make up for a missed one.
If you take too much Irbesartan by mistake, tell your doctor right away.
You may experience side effects when you first start taking Irbesartan. This may include nausea and vomiting. If this happens consistently, see your doctor for advice. They may advise you to stop taking the medicine until you feel better.
Common side effects include:
Uncommon side effects may include:
Other side effects (frequency not known) may include:
Serious side effects are rare, however, if you experience any of the following then seek medical attention:
Do not take Irbesartan if:
Tell your doctor if any of the following apply to you before taking Irbesartan:
Let your doctor know if you are taking any other types of medication. In particular, the following medications may require additional care:
It's best to avoid drinking alcohol for the first few days of taking Irbesartan as alcohol can enhance the blood pressure lowering action of the medication, resulting in dizziness or feeling light-headed. If you experience dizziness while taking Irbesartan then avoid drinking alcohol.
Irbesartan is not usually recommended during early pregnancy and it can cause harm to an unborn baby if it is taken after the third month of pregnancy. Tell your doctor if you are, or could be, pregnant so that they can prescribe you a medication that is suitable.
Irbesartan is not recommended for breastfeeding mothers as a small amount of the medicine may pass through the breast milk. Your doctor will be able to recommend a suitable alternative to Irbesartan.
Irbesartan will not have an effect on your fertility but it should not be taken if you are trying to get pregnant.
Irbesartan will not affect any type of contraception. Certain types of hormonal contraceptives are not suitable for women with high blood pressure, such as the combined pill.
It's recommended not to drive until you know how Irbesartan affects you. It can cause dizziness or fatigue in some people. If this happens, avoid driving or operating machinery until you feel better.
Irbesartan has not been known to be addictive.
Everyone with high blood pressure is advised to make the following lifestyle changes to help lower and maintain your blood pressure:
These steps can be implemented to help prevent high blood pressure from occurring or getting to the point of needing medication.
Irbesartan is designed for long term use so it is safe to take in this way.
You should keep taking Irbesartan even if your blood pressure has lowered. If you stop taking it this could cause your blood pressure to rise again. You will need to keep taking the medication to maintain a healthy blood pressure level.
You should avoid using salt substitutes, for example, Lo-Salt, while you are taking Irbesartan. This is because it can cause the level of potassium in your blood to become too high.
Irbesartan is not designed to treat migraines.
While studies have taken place to find out whether or not blood pressure medications can help to prevent the onset of Alzheimer's, there is not enough evidence to suggest that the medication can work in this manner.
High blood pressure can be prevented by:
Eating a healthy diet
Cutting down on fats
Reducing your alcohol consumption
Losing weight if you are overweight
Cutting down on caffeine
Getting enough sleep
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