How Benicar And ARB Blood Pressure Medications Work
Stress, diet, and genetics can all cause high blood pressure, forcing millions of Americans to consider combating the condition with prescription medication. However, the risks of a medication may be worse than the effects of the condition itself, as patients who have suffered severe gastric effects of Benicar® have discovered.
While there are many different types of drugs that can lower blood pressure, they all work slightly differently depending on the medication’s active ingredient and class of drugs. Since different medications act on different parts of the body, it is important to know how these drugs work if you are taking them or are considering starting treatment.
What Do Blood Pressure Drugs Like Benicar Do?
As the blood flows through the body, it pushes against the walls of the arteries. The force of the blood against the arteries as the heart pumps is called blood pressure—and if the force is too high blood, it can place a tremendous strain on the heart and systems throughout the body. High blood pressure, or hypertension, can be present in a person for years, causing widespread damage day by day that often results in a sudden medical emergency.
Doctors are concerned about high blood pressure because it is commonly associated with many life-threatening conditions, including:
- Heart attacks
- Damage to the aorta (largest artery in the body)
- Preeclampsia (seizures or death in pregnant women)
- Angina (chronic chest pain)
- Kidney failure
- Pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs)
- Brain damage (including memory loss, loss of cognitive function, irritability, and personality changes)
What Are Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers?
Benicar is in a drug class known as angiotensin II receptor blockers. Angiotensin is a chemical that occurs naturally in the body and can have a variety of effects on the cardiovascular system, including narrowing the blood vessels. Narrow blood vessels force the heart to work much harder to pump blood throughout the body, raising a person’s blood pressure.
Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) “block” angiotensin II in the body, allowing blood vessels to dilate instead of constrict, lessening the stress on the heart and lowering blood pressure. ARBs are similar to drugs known as angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, as both work to prevent angiotensin from acting on tissues of the body. The difference is that ACE inhibitors prevent the formation of angiotensin II, ARBs block the effects of angiotensin II after it has been produced.
Doctors prescribe ARBs to treat or prevent high blood pressure, but also to reduce the risk of heart and kidney failure in some patients. Depending on which condition is being treated, doctors may prescribe many different kinds of angiotensin II receptor blockers, including:
- Olmesartan (Benicar)
- Telmisartan (Micardis)
- Azilsartan (Edarbi)
- Candesartan (Atacand)
- Irbesartan (Avapro)
- Losartan (Cozaar)
What Is Olmesartan?
Olmesartan is the generic name for Benicar. It has been approved for the treatment of high blood pressure in adults and children over the age of 6, and may be given alone or in combination with other blood pressure medications. Patients are often started on low doses of olmesartan which may be increased gradually. Patients are advised to take olmesartan at the same time every day, and never to take double doses or increase their medication without advice from their doctors.