Irbesartan and hydrochlorothiazide are connected by the fact that they are both antihypertensive drugs. They are found together in some combination antihypertensives. The way they act differs, but the outcome of both is decreased blood pressure or hypertension. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. Antihypertensives such as irbesartan and hydrochlorothiazide play an important role in reducing cardiovascular risk.
Hypertension occurs via a number of mechanisms and can be caused or worsened by many factors, including genetics, obesity, smoking and hypercholesterolemia. The increased blood pressure causes an increase in the workload of the blood vessels of the heart. In the long-term, this can cause damage to the blood vessels of the heart, brain and kidneys. Without blood pressure control by drugs such as irbesartan and hydrochlorothiazide, heart failure, stroke or kidney failure may result.
There are a number of different classes of drugs used to lower blood pressure, each with its own mechanism of action. A medical practitioner can choose the best drug for each scenario. In some cases, combination therapy is prescribed, using drugs from two or three classes. Some hypertension treatments are available in combination as one tablet. Irbesartan and hydrochlorothiazide can be presented in such a combination and is known in different countries by different trade names.
Irbesartan is an angiotensin II receptor blocker that lowers blood pressure by blocking the angiotensin II receptors, thus inhibiting the action of angiotensin II. This results in less vasoconstriction and allows blood to flow freely. The renin-angiotensin-aldosterone pathway is a complex system of hormones that controls fluid volume, or the amount of blood circulating, and the vasoconstriction of the vessels.
Hydrochlorothiazide is a thiazide diuretic. It is often referred to as a "water pill," as it increases the output of fluids. This lowers the fluid volume in the body and helps to reduce blood pressure. It is often used in combination with other hypertension treatments.
All antihypertensive drugs should only be used under medical supervision, by prescription. Any concomitant diseases or other drugs being used should be discussed with the doctor, as there may be interactions between medications. Pregnancy and lactation should also be discussed beforehand.
Irbesartan and hydrochlorothiazide should be used in combination with non-drug measures such as cessation of smoking, weight loss and cardiovascular exercise. A healthy lifestyle can reduce the risk of hypertension and resulting cardiovascular disease. With early non-drug intervention medical treatment may not be necessary.