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What Is Losartan?

Losartan is commonly prescribed to treat high blood pressure.
Article Details
  • Written By: A. Garrett
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 22 March 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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Losartan, also known as Cozaar®, is an medication used to treat hypertension, or high blood pressure. Although typically used as a high blood pressure medication, Losartan also reduces the risk of stroke in people suffering from heart disease and helps diabetics with high blood pressure in combating kidney disease. Certain precautions must be taken prior to using this drug because some people may have medical conditions that would make using Losartan hazardous to their health. Prescription medications like Losartan should be used only as directed by the prescribing physician. This drug is not devoid of side effects, however most reactions are mild and subside over time.

Angiotensin receptor antagonists like Losartan lower blood pressure by preventing blood vessels from constricting. By keeping the blood vessels from narrowing, blood flow improves, which reduces the risk of stroke. The properties of this medication also delay the progress of kidney disease in patients using the drug at lower doses in order to decrease their blood pressure.

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Prior to taking Losartan, patients should divulge certain preexisting medical conditions to their doctor. Women who are pregnant or may become pregnant should avoid taking this drug because it may interfere with the in utero development of the child and can even cause the death of the unborn baby. Patients suffering from kidney disease should consult with their physician about taking Losartan at lower doses due to the risk of developing a rare, but serious medical conditions that atrophies skeletal muscles and leads to kidney failure. People who abuse alcohol should divulge that information to their doctor due to the fact that this alcohol abuse may lead to a drop in blood pressure; low blood pressure heightens the effects of Losartan.

Losartan may be used alone or in conjunction with other blood pressure medicines. Doses vary based on how high the patient’s blood pressure is, whether or not the drug will have any negative interactions with other medicine the patient may be taking, and whether there are any underlying conditions that may impact the drug’s effectiveness or place the patient at greater risk. Most people begin to see a decrease in their blood pressure in three to six weeks. Patients should not discontinue use until directed to do so by a doctor.

Side effects associated with this drug are mild. Some people may experience a sore throat, nausea or fatigue. If a patient experiences chest pain, difficulty urinating or swelling in their upper and lower extremities he or she should seek immediate medical attention.

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