Common Benicar® side effects include headache, nausea, swelling of the extremities, and joint pain. Many of the side effects of this hypertension medication resolve within several weeks as the patient's body adjusts to the medication. Certain side effects, including changes to the stool, fainting, very rapid swelling, and chest pain are serious, and the medication should be discontinued until they can be addressed. People taking Benicar® should also make sure it is listed in their patient charts and pharmaceutical records, so potentially harmful drug interactions can be identified and avoided.
Known generically as olmesartan, this drug works by blocking the action of angiotensin, a chemical that normally causes the blood vessels to tighten, increasing blood pressure. Patients on this drug have more open, relaxed blood vessels, allowing blood to flow freely and keeping blood pressure low. Doctors will prescribe this medication for patients with hypertension when the condition does not respond to more conservative measures. Common Benicar® side effects can vary in severity and some patients experience no or very mild side effects, while others may find the medication intolerable.
Patients can experience common Benicar® side effects like flu-like symptoms, upper respiratory infections, skin rash, dizziness, and diarrhea. Some patients develop tachycardia, where the heart beats too quickly, and may become weak or unstable while on the medication. If the drug is combined with alcohol and foods known to change blood pressure, patients may experience an adverse reaction. Benicar® side effects can be made more complicated by the use of a companion medication, and patients should be aware of this.
Serious and less common Benicar® side effects include angiodema, where the body swells very rapidly as a result of a fluid buildup, along with rhabdomyolysis, where the muscles start to break down and the kidneys cannot process the protein quickly enough, leading to a buildup of toxins in the blood. Patients can also have allergic reactions to the drug, causing issues like difficulty breathing or hives on the skin.
People with biliary obstructions, liver or kidney problems, and congestive heart failure may be poor candidates for Benicar®. These patients will be monitored closely for common Benicar® side effects if a doctor feels the risks of the medication are balanced by the potential benefits. This drug has also been known to cause birth defects and fetal death, and should not be used in pregnant women. Women who become pregnant while taking the medication should stop immediately and consult a doctor for additional advice.