Doctors often counsel patients medicated for high blood pressure to change their diets, adopt stress-relieving techniques, and improve their health naturally. However, patients need to know that some foods, lifestyle choices, supplements, and medications don’t always mix—and for patients taking Benicar®, these interactions can cause life-threatening effects.
Medications That Could Interfere or Interact with Benicar
Interactions between the medications you take can cause a drug to be less effective, to be more potent, or prompt unintended effects. Patients should review a list of all their prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and herbal supplements with their physician and ask about potential interactions before starting a new medication.
The following drugs have been known to increase the risk of dangerous Benicar side effects:
- Lithium, commonly used as an anti-depressant
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) including aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen
- Cholesterol medications, particularly Welchol® and generic colesevelam
- Diabetes medications, including Tekturna® or generic aliskiren
- ACE inhibitors, such as Lotensin, Capoten®, Vasotec®, Monopril®, Prinivil, Zestril, or drugs containing moexipril, perindopril, quinapril, ramipril, or trandolapril
- Angiotensin II receptor blockers, including azilsartan, candesartan, eprosartan, irbesartan, losartan, telmisartan, or valsartan
- Diuretics or "water pills," particularly those containing thiazide
Other Precautions for Patients Taking Benicar
Patients with severe liver disease or cirrhosis who take thiazide medications such as Benicar HCT® may suffer alkalosis, a dangerous excess of base levels that can change the pH of the blood. Patients with poor liver function can also suffer brain damage, coma, and death on Benicar, especially if they're also being treated with diuretics.
While taking Benicar or a derivative its active ingredient, olmesartan, patients should also be wary of:
- Alcohol. Drinking alcohol can cause or worsen some side effects of Benicar. Thiazide medications and the ethanol in alcoholic drinks both lower a patient’s blood pressure, putting him at risk of dangerously low pressure levels. Patients with severely low blood pressure may experience headaches, dizziness, fainting, or low pulse rate. Patients should ask their doctors about how much alcohol they can safely consume while taking Benicar.
- Angioedema. Benicar has been known to cause swelling in the face and hands known as angioedema. Patients should report any swelling of their hands, eyes, lips, or tongue to their doctors immediately, and should seek emergency medical treatment if they have difficulty swallowing or breathing.
- Potassium. A buildup of potassium in patients taking Benicar can cause hyperkalemia, a condition that causes abnormal heart rhythm. Patients with diabetes, heart failure, or kidney problems are especially at risk. While there are many healthy foods that contain necessary potassium, such as bananas, beans, and nuts, patients controlling their high blood pressure with Benicar may have to limit these foods in their diets. Also avoid salt substitutes with KCI, or potassium chloride; sports drinks; and commercial baked goods.
- Dehydration. Lack of sufficient water intake increases the risk of Benicar side effects, especially fainting and low blood pressure. Vomiting, excessive sweating, and diarrhea can further increase the risk of dehydration. Patients should discuss potential activities that can cause dehydration with their prescribers, including which precautions to take while exercising, during illness, and when exposed to hot weather.
Let Us Help
If you or someone you love suffered debilitating side effects while taking Benicar, the McGartland Law Firm can help. We fight for injury victims of dangerous drugs, and we don't collect any legal fees unless we win your case. Call the number on this page today to speak with an attorney, or use our online contact form to have us investigate your claim.