Losartan is a type of medication known as an angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB). It is used to treat high blood pressure, heart failure and chronic kidney disease, and may also be prescribed following a heart attack.
If you have high blood pressure, your heart has to work too hard to pump blood around the body, which can lead to damaged vessels in the brain, heart and kidneys causing heart failure, stroke or kidney failure. Angiotensin II is a hormone in the body which contributes to the narrowing of blood vessels and the retention of salt, both of which contribute to high blood pressure. ARBs like Losartan work by blocking the reception of angiotensin II, causing blood vessels to relax and lowering blood pressure.
The active ingredient in Losartan is losartan potassium.
The inactive ingredients in Losartan are lactose monohydrate, starch pregelatinized, colloidal anhydrous silica, microcrystalline cellulose, magnesium stearate, carnauba wax, hypromellose, titanium dioxide (E171) and macrogol 400.
Please Note: Different generic brands of Losartan may contain different inactive ingredients than those listed above.
Always take Losartan as instructed by a doctor or pharmacist. Losartan tablets are taken once daily and should be swallowed whole with a glass of water at around the same time each day. If you miss a dose, don’t worry, just take your next dose at the scheduled time. Never take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
The dose of Losartan prescribed to you will depend on your condition and severity of symptoms. The recommended starting dose for adults is 50 mg per day. If the maximal blood pressure-lowering effect is not reached within 3-6 weeks, dosage may be increased to up to 100 mg per day. Dosage is different for treatment in patients with heart failure, so it is vital to follow the instructions of your doctor.
Like all medications, Losartan can cause side effects in some patients. If you experience symptoms of a severe allergic reaction (swelling of the face, lips, mouth or throat, difficulty breathing, rash or itching) stop taking Losartan and seek medical help immediately.
The following common side effects can affect up to 1 in 10 people and include:
Uncommon side effects (affecting up to 1 in 100 people) include:
Rare side effects, which may affect up to 1 in 1 000 people) include:
The following side effect have been reported, although their frequency is unknown:
Do NOT take Losartan if:
Before taking Losartan, tell your doctor if:
Before taking Losartan, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking any other medications, including those purchased over the counter without a prescription. In particular, tell your doctor if you are taking any of the following:
Most people who take Losartan do not experience any side effects. However, in some cases it can cause dizziness, headaches or pain in your joints and muscles. If you experience bouts of dizziness with this medication, find somewhere to lie down until the feeling has passed. Do not try to drive, ride a bike, or operate heavy machinery. To relieve headaches or joint or muscle pain, make sure to drink plenty of fluids and take painkillers if necessary. If any of these symptoms persist for longer than a week or are particularly severe, speak to a doctor for advice.
Losartan is not recommended for use during pregnancy and must not be taken after the 3rd month of pregnancy. Tell your doctor if you think you are pregnant or are hoping to become pregnant as they will wish to review your treatment.
There are many different treatments for high blood pressure, and a doctor will be able to help you decide which is best for you. While they work in very similar ways, different types of ARB (such as Valsartan and Candesartan) and are broken down in different ways in the body. The type of ARB prescribed by a doctor depends on your condition, age, and symptoms. Alternative treatments for high blood pressure include angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, which work in a similar way to ARBs. However, both of these options are thought to be less effective in patients over the age of 55 or of Afro-Caribbean descent, in which cases a different alternative might be preferable. Beta-blockers also block the angiotensin II hormone and also lower your heart rate, while diuretics aid the relaxing of the blood vessels and are sometimes taken in combination with the ACE inhibitor Enalapril. Finally, calcium-channel blockers such as Amlodipine, Felodipine and Lercanidipine work by preventing calcium from causing blood vessels to constrict.
While Losartan itself does not require you to make any major changes to your life, some simple lifestyle changes can help to reduce blood pressure and improve your overall wellbeing. High salt intake is a major cause of high blood pressure, so try to limit the amount of salt in your diet to below the recommended maximum of 6g per day. Cut back on fatty foods and try to include plenty of fruit and vegetables, wholegrains and lean meats in your diet. Exercising regularly will keep your heart and blood vessels in good condition, and can also contribute to reducing stress, another cause of high blood pressure. Try and reduce stress in your life by spending time with friends and family, taking daily walks and finding the time to relax where possible. Limit the amount of alcohol you drink to the recommended maximum of 14 units per week and, if you haven’t already done so, quit smoking.
There are range of factors which include obesity, too little exercise, excess salt or alcohol consumption, ethnic origin and age. As there are no obvious symptoms of high blood pressure, is it essential to be tested if you are at risk of having the condition.
If left untreated, high blood pressure can eventually lead to stroke, heart attack or kidney problems. Losartan works by widening the blood vessels to help reduce high blood pressure.
Losartan is recommended for long-term use and in many cases is taken for the rest of the patient’s life.
Losartan can reduce your blood pressure if taken in combination with a general anaesthetic, so you should tell your doctor if you are schedules do undergo surgery while taking this medication. A doctor may advise you to stop taking Losartan 24 hours before surgery.
While Losartan is most commonly used to treat high blood pressure, it’s relaxing effect on the muscle wall of blood vessels means that it can be used to control symptoms of Raynaud’s phenomenon in cases where other medications have failed.
Although studies have been conducted to explore the use of high blood pressure treatments like Losartan in protecting against Alzheimer’s disease, there is currently not enough evidence of their use in this case for them to be prescribed.
Losartan does not have an affect on the sex life of men or women.
There is no evidence to suggest that Losartan effects fertility in men or women. However, if you are female and are trying to get pregnant, tell your doctor before taking this medication as it is not usually recommended for use during pregnancy.
While Losartan itself will not affect any form of contraception, some hormonal contraceptives such as the combined contraceptive pill and the contraceptive patch are not recommended for use in women with high blood pressure. Consult a doctor for advice on which contraceptive is best for you.