What should I know about Atacand before taking it?

Before taking Atacand (candesartan) you should know that it's a medication used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure. Atacand is an angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB). These medications help lower blood pressure by interfering with chemicals that constrict blood vessels, which allows blood to flow more smoothly.

It's important to know that you shouldn't take Atacand if you're allergic to any of its ingredients, or if you're pregnant. Atacand can damage or kill a developing fetus if you take it during the last six months of pregnancy. If you become pregnant, stop taking Atacand and call your doctor immediately. You also shouldn't take Atacand if you're breastfeeding, because the drug may pass into breast milk and could be harmful to an infant.

If you have kidney disease, liver disease or congestive heart failure, you will need careful monitoring while taking Atacand. These conditions increase your risk for side effects, and can make it more complicated to find the right dosage.

You should know that Atacand has a number of potential side effects, although most are not serious. They include headache, dizziness, back pain and sore throat. Let your doctor know if any of these become severe or don't go away. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following symptoms, because they could be signs of a rare but serious, potentially fatal, reaction:
  • swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles or lower legs
  • hoarseness
  • difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • decreased urination
Atacand may make blood pressure dip too low, causing lightheadedness or fainting. This is more likely to occur if you also take a diuretic (water pill), follow a low-salt diet, are undergoing dialysis or recently experienced diarrhea or vomiting. Doctors generally correct this problem by lowering the dose of Atacand.

Be aware that Atacand can interact with a number of other medications (prescription and nonprescription) and dietary supplements. It's important to let your doctor know about everything you're taking. If you're on any of the following types of medications, he or she will probably monitor you carefully:
  • water pills (diuretics)
  • ACE inhibitors
  • NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), including the pain medications ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn) and celecoxib (Celebrex)
  • potassium supplements or other drugs that increase your potassium level
  • salt substitutes
  • lithium

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.