Benicar treats high blood pressure. This medication should not be used during pregnancy. Avoid salt substitutes containing potassium.
Benicar is a prescription medication used to treat high blood pressure in adults and children over 6 years old. Benicar belongs to a group of drugs called angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs), which block a substance in the body that increases blood pressure. Benicar causes blood to flow more smoothly and makes the heart more efficient at pumping blood.
This medication comes in tablet form and is taken once a day, with or without food.
Common side effects of Benicar include low blood pressure and headache. Benicar can cause dizziness. Do not drive or operate machinery until you know how Benicar affects you.
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Benicar Cautionary Labels
Uses of Benicar
Benicar is a prescription medication used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) in adults and children over 6 years old.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Benicar Drug Class
Benicar is part of the drug class:
Side Effects of Benicar
Common side effects of Benicar include:
- low blood pressure (hypotension)
This is not a complete list of Benicar side effects. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Serious side effects have been reported with Benicar. See “Benicar Precautions” section.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Especially tell your doctor if you take:
- non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin (Ecotrin) and ibuprofen (Advil)
- selective cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitors, such as celecoxib (Celebrex)
- colesevelam (Welchol)
- other angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), such as losartan (Cozaar) and valsartan (Diovan)
- ACE inhibitors, such as lisinopril (Prinivil and Zestril) and enalapril (Vasotec)
- aliskiren (Tekturna)
This is not a complete list of Benicar drug interactions. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Serious side effects have been reported with Benicar including:
- harm to unborn child: Do not take Benicar if you are pregnant. See the "Benicar and Pregnancy" section.
- extremely Low blood pressure (hypotension) in sodium or salt-depleted patients: Tell your doctor if you have a history of low salt (electrolyte) or sodium levels. Call your doctor if you experience one or more of the following symptoms of low blood pressure:
- reduced kidney function: Tell your doctor if you have a history of kidney or heart disease. Benicar may impair kidney function, particularly in those who have kidney disease, congestive heart failure (CHF), the elderly, or people taking NSAIDS or diuretics. Your doctor may require simple blood tests while you are taking this medication, to monitor your kidney function. Tell your doctor right away if you experience signs of reduced kidney function:
- swelling of feet, ankles, hands, or legs
- decreased urination
- hypersensitivity reaction: An allergic reaction to Benicar is possible. Call your doctor if you experience one or more of the following symptoms of a hypersensitivity reaction:
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- severe diarrhea and weight loss (Sprue-like Enteropathy). Severe, chronic diarrhea with considerable weight loss may develop months to years after starting Benicar . Tell your doctor if you are experiencing these symptoms.
Benicar can cause dizziness. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how Benicar affects you.
Benicar Food Interactions
Medicines can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your doctor may advise you to avoid certain foods. In the case of Benicar, there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet when receiving Benicar.
Talk to your doctor before using potassium supplements or salt substitutes while taking Benicar, as this can cause levels of potassium in the blood to rise to dangerous levels.
Before taking Benicar, tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions. Especially tell your doctor if you:
- have a history of low salt (electrolyte) or sodium levels
- have a history of kidney, liver, or heart disease
- have diabetes
- take aliskiren (Tekturna)
- are pregnant or breastfeeding
Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Benicar and Pregnancy
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
The FDA categorizes medications based on safety for use during pregnancy. Five categories - A, B, C, D, and X, are used to classify the possible risks to an unborn baby when a medication is taken during pregnancy.
Benicar falls into category D. There is evidence of risk to the unborn baby based on studies in humans or adverse reaction data. This medication may be given to a pregnant woman if her healthcare provider believes that the benefits to the pregnant woman outweigh any possible risks to her unborn baby.
Benicar and Lactation
Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed.
It is not known if Benicar is excreted in human breast milk or if it will harm your nursing baby.
- Take Benicar exactly as prescribed.
- This medication comes in tablet form and is taken once a day, with or without food.
- If you miss a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the regular time. Do not take two doses of Benicar at the same time.
Take Benicar exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully.
The starting Benicar dose for adults is usually 20 mg. The dosage range for adults is 20 to 40 mg each day. Dosages over 40 mg do not appear to have an increased effect in treating high blood pressure. Your doctor will prescribe the appropriate dose of Benicar depending on the severity of your high blood pressure and your response to the medication.
The starting dose for children between 6 and 16 years old is 10 to 20 mg Benicar. The dosage range for children is 10 to 40 mg each day. The doctor will determine the dose appropriate for a child depending on their body weight and response to the medication.
If you take too much this medication, call your healthcare provider or local Poison Control Center, or seek emergency medical attention right away.
If this medication is administered by a healthcare provider in a medical setting, it is unlikely that an overdose will occur. However, if overdose is suspected, seek emergency medical attention.
- Store Benicar at room temperature.
- Keep this and all medicines out of the reach of children.
Benicar FDA Warning
WARNING: FETAL TOXICITY
- When pregnancy is detected, discontinue Benicar as soon as possible.
- Drugs that act directly on the renin-angiotensin system can cause injury and death to the developing fetus