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Irbesartan

Irbesartan tablets are a form of high blood pressure (hypertension) medication that is intended to reduce the side effects and risks of excessive blood pressure. The treatment of high blood pressure can assist with preventing against kidney problems, strokes, heart attacks, and other issues.

What is irbesartan?

Irbesartan is a form of oral medication used for the treatment of hypertension, or high blood pressure, and can also be used in the treatment of kidney disease and diabetic nephropathy in some cases. This medication belongs to a drug class called angiotensin 2 receptor blockers or ARBs, which can lower the tension in the muscles and around blood vessels, allowing blood to flow more freely around the body. The purpose of irbesartan is to fight back against a substance called angiotensin, formed by the angiotensin-converting enzyme in the body. This dangerous and powerful chemical attaches to the receptors in the tissues around your muscles, causing them to narrow and contract, preventing blood from flowing naturally. Irbesartan causes the muscles to relax again, blocking the angiotensin receptors and dilating the blood vessels. The FDA approved this drug in 1997.

When is irbesartan used?

Irbesartan tablets are a prescription-only drug intended to combat the dangerous side effects of high blood pressure. Although high blood pressure does not always cause any noticeable symptoms, it can damage the body, increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attacks and strokes. Irbesartan lowers the blood pressure in your body, protecting your heart, veins and arteries. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe this with other blood-pressure-lowering medications.

Irbesartan tablets are also excellent at helping your kidneys to function better if you have suffered from a condition caused diabetic nephropathy caused by type 2 diabetes. Irbesartan also helps your kidneys to excrete and remove additional salt and liquid, improving your kidney function.

How do you use irbesartan?

Your doctor will provide instructions on how to use irbesartan or you can follow the instructions given in the medication leaflet. In some cases, your doctor will recommend taking your first dose of irbesartan tablets before your scheduled bedtime as they can often cause feelings of tiredness or dizziness. After the first dose, you can begin taking irbesartan tablets whenever it suits you, although most experts recommend using this medication at the same time every day.

Irbesartan works best when it is taken regularly, so taking this drug at the same time each day will reduce your chance of forgetting to take a dose. You can take your irbesartan tablets with or without food. Swallow them whole with a glass of water – do not chew them. It can take a few weeks before you begin to see the difference in your health using irbesartan. Continue to take irbesartan tablets according to your doctor’s instructions even if you think you no longer need it.

If you miss a dose of irbesartan, take it as soon as you remember, but do not take a double dose to make up for the one you skipped – simply wait until it is time for your next dose if you are due to take your next tablet soon. If you often forget doses, try setting an alarm to remind you.

If you experience severe diarrhoea or vomiting when taking irbesartan tablets, contact your doctor as this may mean that the drug is not being absorbed into your system properly. If you have taken too many irbesartan tablets by accident, contact a hospital or your doctor straight away. After prescribing this medication, your doctor will monitor your kidney function to ensure that there is no deterioration.

What dosages are available?

The dose of irbesartan your doctor gives you will depend on why you are taking the medication. It is important to follow the instructions that your doctor gives you and not to take any more or less medication than suggested.

Usually, the dose is between 150 mg and 300 mg taken once a day. For high blood pressure, it is likely that your doctor will ask you to begin by taking 150 mg and may increase the dosage over time. This will give them the chance to monitor your response to the irbesartan tablets. If you are suffering from diabetes and you also have high blood pressure, it is likely you will start on a much higher dose initially.

Your doctor will check your blood pressure regularly when you are taking this medication to see whether you would benefit from a higher dose. If irbesartan does not reduce your blood pressure after four weeks, then your doctor might decide to switch you to a different medication or ask you to use irbesartan alongside another drug to improve the effects.

What are the side effects of irbesartan?

All medications can cause side effects, so if you notice any negative changes when you begin taking this medication, do not panic. Most common side effects will disappear on their own after your body adjusts to the new drug. However, if the side effects do not diminish or worsen, you should contact your doctor for advice.

The most common side effects include:

  • Tiredness and dizziness;
  • Light-headedness when standing up;
  • Heartburn;
  • Diarrhoea;
  • Cough and sore throat;
  • Sexual dysfunction;
  • Increased heart rate;
  • Cold extremities (feet and hands).

Some people may suffer from some gastrointestinal issues when they begin taking irbesartan tablets for the first time, including nausea, diarrhoea and vomiting. If you get a lot of these symptoms, contact your doctor to see what you should do about continuing your medication. If your side effects are mild, then you may want to wait for a while to see if they go away on their own before seeking help from your doctor.

There are however some more severe side effects that may be associated with irbesartan. If these symptoms occur, you will need to contact an emergency medical professional as quickly as possible and stop taking the drug until you know it is safe. Severe side effects include severe migraine or headache, chest pain, hives and trouble breathing. A severe allergic reaction to irbesartan tablets is rare, but it can happen. Make sure that you seek emergency medical attention if you notice swelling in your lips, tongue or throat, problems with your breathing, a rash or hives.

When should not you use irbesartan?

Irbesartan tablets are only available for adults over the age of 18. However, that does not mean that this drug is the right option for everyone. It is important to schedule an appointment with your doctor before you begin taking irbesartan where you can discuss your medical history. During this time, you will need to tell your doctor if you have any allergies to the ingredients in irbesartan or anything else that you may be exposed to through taking this medication.

It is important not to take irbesartan tablets if you are suffering from diabetes with complications, as your doctor may need to give you a different type of treatment. Tell your doctor if you have any heart or kidney problems that may make this substance more dangerous for you. You should also speak to your doctor if you have ever had a kidney transplant or kidney disease. Avoid taking irbesartan when you have low blood pressure or are on a low-salt diet.

Irbesartan tablets are not generally recommended for people who are pregnant or those who are considering getting pregnant. It is not certain whether this substance will pass through into breast milk, which means that you may need to speak to your doctor about whether you can begin or continue to nurse an infant when taking irbesartan tablets. If you suffer from other conditions such as ulcers, you may find that irbesartan could make your condition worse.

If your doctor feels that irbesartan tablets are not the right treatment for you, they will often recommend a different kind of medication that can have similar effects. Do not take irbesartan against the warnings and recommendations of your medical healthcare provider.

Does irbesartan interact with any other medications?

Many medications including irbesartan can interact with other drugs, which is why it is important to provide your doctor with a full list of any medications that you are taking before you begin using irbesartan. Make sure you tell your doctor about everything that you are using, including recreational drugs, herbal substances, supplements and over-the-counter medications.

Irbesartan tablets are not recommended for use with potassium-inducing diuretics such as triamterene and amiloride. It is not ideal to take with potassium supplements or other substances that contain potassium, as this can lead to toxicity from an overdose of potassium. It is also not recommended for people taking lithium or NSAIDs such as aspirin and ibuprofen.

Where can you buy irbesartan?

Irbesartan tablets are not available to buy over the counter, however you can request for us to send this medication to a local pharmacy for you to collect or you can buy it online. You will also be able to arrange for a consultation with a registered healthcare professional through our website to ensure that this medicine is right for you.

Can you get irbesartan without a prescription?

Irbesartan and other medications for hypertension can be dangerous when they are not used without caution. For that reason, irbesartan tablets are not available without a prescription. You will need to discuss the nature of your condition with a doctor to ensure that this treatment is suitable for you. A medical professional can then prescribe irbesartan to you.

References

Drugs.com, 2019, Online, irbesartan side effects, [accessed on 8 August 2019], available at: https://www.drugs.com/sfx/irbesartan-side-effects.html

Mayo Clinic, Online, 2019, irbesartan oral route [accessed on 8 August 2019], available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/irbesartan-oral-route/side-effects/drg-20064404

Omudhome Ogbru, Phama D, Jay W. Marks, MD. Online, 2019, MedicineNet, What is irbesartan and how does it work? [accessed on 8 August 2019], available at: https://www.medicinenet.com/irbesartan/article.htm#what_else_should_i_know_about_irbesartan

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