Irbesartan is a medication used to manage high blood pressure with the goal of preventing complications such as heart disease caused by sustained high blood pressure in patients. It is prescribed when a patient does not respond to more conservative measures for hypertension treatment, such as diet and exercise, and is provided in the form of oral tablets to be taken at regular intervals. Side effects with irbesartan are generally mild, and many patients tolerate this medication very well.
This drug works by blocking the angiotensin receptor, forcing blood vessels to relax instead of contracting. This brings blood pressure down and should stabilize it in the long term. One thing to be careful of with this and other hypertension medications is the risk of dangerously low blood pressure if the medication is mixed with other substances known to lower blood pressure, such as alcohol or additional blood pressure medications. It is advisable to avoid this interaction, if possible.
Diarrhea is a very common side effect. Some patients experience abdominal pain, heart burn, dizziness, nausea, and changes to the color and consistency of the stool. Rarely, irbesartan can be associated with serious kidney damage. Patients who experience extreme muscle pain, difficulty urinating, or changes in the color of their urine should contact their doctors, as they may be developing rare and potentially dangerous kidney side effects.
Patients with high blood pressure and comorbidities like renal disease or diabetes can benefit from irbesartan therapy, as the medication will bring their blood pressure down and can prevent further damage to the body. These patients may be taking other medications to manage their conditions, and it is important to make sure doctors and pharmacists are familiar with all the drugs, including over-the-counter preparations, a patient is taking. Dangerous drug interactions can occur and the drugs may also interfere with each other's efficacy in the body.
This medication is considered dangerous during pregnancy, particularly in the second and third trimesters. It can cause fetal death and other pregnancy complications. Generally, patients on this medication are advised to use birth control and to stop taking irbesartan immediately and consult their doctors if they become pregnant. Pregnant women with high blood pressure will be evaluated by their obstetricians to determine which treatments would be most appropriate for their needs. In rare cases, a doctor may determine that the risk of a blood pressure medication is outweighed by the benefits, and therapy may continue into pregnancy, with monitoring for any signs of problems.