Irbesartan (Oral)

Overview

Irbesartan may be used alone or as part of a broader treatment plan for high blood pressure. The medication may also treat kidney disease in a person with diabetic nephropathy whereby the body cannot produce enough amounts of insulin to control blood sugar levels. The primary function of the angiotensin II receptor blocker is to prevent a specific natural substance from causing the tightening of blood vessels, letting blood and oxygen flow without restrictions to the heart. In some instances, the medication may be used to treat heart failure in a patient whose heart cannot pump enough blood to other parts and organs within the body.

Failure to control high blood pressure using the right medication can result in damage to body organs such as the brain, heart, veins, arteries, and kidney. These malfunctioning organs may cause cardiac complications, including heart failure and heart attack. Similarly, a patient with untreated hypertension is more susceptible to stroke, kidney failure, and deterioration of eyesight.

You should use irbesartan only after your doctor has prescribed it. A range of lifestyle changes may be necessary to a patient using the hypertension medication. For example, you may have to limit your alcohol consumption and avoid smoking. It is likely that your healthcare practitioner will also recommend exercising, checking body weight, and a diet that is low in fat and salt to help regulate your blood pressure.

Irbesartan helps regulate but not cure hypertension. So a patient should continue using the medication even when they do not feel sick in any way.

Conditions Treated

  • High blood pressure
  • Kidney disease caused by diabetic nephropathy
  • Chronic heart failure

Type Of Medicine

  • Angiotensin II receptor blocker

Side Effects

It is possible for the patient to experience several undesired effects while using irbesartan. Typically, healthcare practitioners weigh the potential benefits against the likely side effects of the medication before prescribing it to anyone. Just watch out for severe treatment discomforts and symptoms while taking the drug, and see your doctor immediately they occur.

For example, notify your physician once you start experiencing coldness, cold sweats, or confusion while taking irbesartan. Likewise, some patients have trouble rising from a lying or sitting position, in which case they may fall unconscious or experience lightheadedness due to their hypertension medication. These are more likely side effects that require urgent medical intervention.

Pain in the bladder, lower back, or chest is a less common irbesartan side effect, but it requires quick medical attention once it occurs. Cloudiness or blood in the urine, an increase in the frequency of urination, and an unstable heart pulse are also worrisome outcomes of the medication that affect a few patients. See your doctor right away if it has become difficult or painful for you to urinate due to the treatment.

Rarely does irbesartan cause chest discomfort, high body temperature, abnormal breathing, nausea, or pain in the arms, neck, or jaw, but these side effects are sometimes severe enough to warrant a doctor's attention. Similarly rare but potentially severe medication responses include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Heaviness in the chest
  • Breathing complications
  • A decrease in the urge to urinate

It is not clear how many patients on irbesartan may experience severe symptoms of medical reactions such as abdominal or stomach pain, an increased urge to drink water or loss of appetite. Also unclear is the prevalence of itching, tiny red marks on the skin, rash, foul breath, vomiting of blood, or change of skin or eye color to yellow. Massive swellings that look like bumps on body areas like eyelids, face, sex organs, limbs, tongue, or throat are equally probable side effects. Additionally, the medication may cause numbness, darkened urine, clay-colored feces, fatigue, weight gain, or increased vulnerability to bruising and bleeding (including on the gums) in some individuals.

Not all irbesartan side effects require the immediate attention of your doctor. Some such reactions may improve gradually as your system adapts to treatment. It is still imperative to talk to your healthcare practitioner about measures you may take to prevent or cope with any unwanted medication outcomes in your body that are troubling or fail to subside within a reasonable time. Such symptoms include:

  • Coughing
  • Heartburn
  • A sense of illness
  • Husky voice
  • Aching joints, body, bone, or chest
  • Shakiness
  • Sneezing
  • Nasal congestion
  • Loss of sleep
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach upset
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Soft, swollen lymph nodes in the neck

Before contacting your doctor, you may also wish to wait and observe how rare side effects like blistering or itching of the skin, bloating, poor or loss of eyesight, depression, loss of libido, erectile dysfunction, interference with hearing, or hives improve as you continue taking irbesartan. Discharge of fluids out of the ears, earache, bowel movement difficulty, hives, the passing of gas, joint pain or swelling, drowsiness, and uncomfortable sensations of pins and needles are also possible short-term body reactions to the hypertension treatment.

Temporary eyesight disorders are also rare but likely side effects of the hypertension medication. As such, while using irbesartan, there may be moments when you will see bright circles around sources of light, lose the ability to see in the dark or have a narrow scope of vision. Additionally, the drug may trigger disturbance in color vision or cause you to sometimes perceive a single image as two at the same time. Along with drowsiness, you may sometimes feel like you or the objects around you are in motion while using irbesartan. A sensation of going round in circles is also a likely treatment reaction.

Irbesartan does not necessarily produce the same side effects in all patients, so it is vital that you seek medical advice about your specific symptoms once they occur. Feel free to get in touch with the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 about any unwanted treatment effects.

Dosage

Irbesartan is a prescription drug that is for oral administration. The medicine is available in the form of a tablet. It is imperative that you follow the dosage instructions your doctor prescribes because those usually cater to your specific condition and response to treatment. The package label includes user instructions that you may also refer to, although your doctor's special directives regarding proper use of the medication are final and not open to your own independent, non-professional review.

The doctor looks at numerous factors before deciding the right amount of hypertension medication for recommendation to a patient. For example, how strong (or potent) each irbesartan tablet is has a bearing on the number of such tablets you can take every day, the time spacing between doses, as well as your entire long-term or short-term treatment duration.

Proper nutrition diet and weight control are essential elements of any hypertension treatment. So, along with taking irbesartan each day, your doctor may recommend an exercise plan and specific foods, for example, low-salt/sodium diets.

The initial dose for adults taking irbesartan to control high blood pressure is 150 milligrams daily. The dosing is subject to adjustment based on your doctor's observation of treatment outcomes. Typically, the medication does not exceed 300 mg per day. The healthcare practitioner may individualize dosing to address the treatment needs of children aged 6 and below.

Adults with diabetic nephropathy should take 300 mg of irbesartan per day. Again, only a doctor may assess and determine the amount of the medication a child should receive daily to treat the condition.

Taking a double dose of irbesartan is neither safe nor advised. If you skip your medication, be sure to use it at your earliest chance. Nevertheless, rather than take two doses within a relatively small time interval just to catch up with a missed dose, omit it and wait for the next planned medicine intake.

Major Drug Interactions:

Some drug interactions may impact the action of irbesartan in your body or expose you to more side effects. Always have a list of all medications you are taking on hand, including prescription/over-the-counter drugs and herbal medicines. Be sure to share the medical information with your doctor and pharmacist. The content below does not cover all possible medicinal reactions you may experience while taking the hypertension drug along with other regimens.

Most doctors do not prescribe irbesartan to patients who are already taking aliskiren, especially if they have diabetes. If an individual has to use the two drugs together, the dose of the other medicine may have to change. Likewise, healthcare practitioners prefer not to recommend irbesartan to individuals on medication such as ceritinib, enalaprilat, entacapone, fosinopril, lithium, or trimethoprim. Your daily or weekly dose of one or both of the drugs may require an adjustment in case you cannot do without either of them.

While taking irbesartan to treat high blood pressure, you may need to avoid drugs capable of increasing the amount of blood potassium. As such, your hypertension doctor will want to know if you are using an ACE inhibitor, for example, benazepril or oral contraceptive whose ingredients include drospirenone.

Be wary of products with contents that may escalate your high blood pressure or heart failure. Do not hesitate to consult your doctor about the safe use of dietary supplements or medicines for treating cold and cough. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), for example, ibuprofen and naproxen, water pills, aspirin, and celecoxib (or any other COX-2 inhibitor) also require special dosing assessment before use along with irbesartan.

Your doctor will consider what to do with the dosing of any other medications that, when used together with irbesartan, can increase your risk of specific unwanted treatment effects. These include:

  • Aceclofenac
  • Bromfenac
  • Choline salicylate
  • Dexketoprofen
  • Dipyrone
  • Etofenamate
  • Fenoprofen
  • Feprazone
  • Meclofenamate
  • Sodium Salicylate
  • Valdecoxib

Warnings/Precautions

  • Be cautious while treating hypertension with irbesartan if you have certain other medical conditions. Such disorders may interfere with your treatment or the high blood pressure drug may escalate particular pre-existing problems. As such, your doctor has to review your past and current health records before prescribing irbesartan.
  • An individual with kidney disease may use irbesartan in line with precautions recommended by their doctor to avoid complicating their pre-existing condition. However, patients with congestive heart failure may need to reconsider taking the hypertension drug as it may trigger kidney defects. Likewise, let your healthcare practitioner know if you have high blood sugar and you are using aliskiren (available for prescription as Tekturna, Tekamlo, etc.), in which case, irbesartan may not be proper for you.
  • Patients with low blood sodium or other electrolyte imbalances should notify their doctor about such complications before beginning treatment with irbesartan. The same applies to individuals that have lost a lot of critical bodily fluid through vomiting, diarrhea, excessive sweating or other causes of dehydration. Such loss of water, along with failure to drink enough fluids, may trigger a drop in blood pressure, resulting in dizziness and unconsciousness in the patient. Seek medical help if you get a feeling of sickness that may come with nausea and vomiting while taking irbesartan. Always drink a lot of water to make up for dehydration due to illness, physical activity, hot weather, or sweating.
  • Determine substances, chemicals, and other drugs that trigger allergic reactions within your system, and share that information with your doctor. Also, your pharmacist may provide a list of irbesartan ingredients that you may want to screen for potential allergies. Precautions are necessary in case your body does not react well to the hypertension drug or any of its ingredients.
  • Be ready to cope with specific occasional irbesartan side effects, such as lightheadedness and fainting that occur when you are seated or lying down, and you attempt to rise too quickly. If you are in bed, try getting out slowly, stay seated with your feet on the floor for a while, and then get up. Know how to deal with dizziness if you are involved in a concentration-intensive activity, such as driving or equipment operation.
  • Never use irbesartan while you are pregnant as the medication may kill or seriously harm your unborn child if administered within the last 6 months of pregnancy. Notify your physician if you are expecting a baby, plan on having one, or have become pregnant while using the hypertension drug.
  • Consult your doctor over the appropriateness of using salt alternatives, medication, or supplements that contain potassium. Too much potassium levels in the blood are not good for your health. Do not change your diet without first contacting your healthcare giver about it.
  • Discuss the benefits/dangers of any other drugs with your doctor before using them along with irbesartan. Some medicinal interactions may worsen your hypertension. These include both prescription and OTC medications for the management of asthma, colds, cough, or sinus complications.
  • It is imperative that you see your doctor regularly for the assessment of treatment progress. Some side effects require blood screening to detect. Let the healthcare know if treatment with irbesartan does not improve your condition, such as when blood pressure readings are only soaring.
  • Hypertension requires prompt, consistent treatment or it may lead to numerous severe complications, including heart failure, artery defects, stroke, or kidney disease. As such, you have to keep using your blood pressure medication even if you feel alright. Some patients have to use the drug for their entire life.

Storage

  • Find a sealed prescription box or container and keep irbesartan tablets in it. Do not expose the storage to heat, moisture, or direct light. Ensure the drug does not freeze.
  • Ensure minors and pets cannot access your irbesartan storage. Make it difficult for kids to open the medication.
  • Once the medication has expired, throw it away. Do the same to drug supplies you are not using anymore. Your doctor or pharmacist may provide you with guidelines for disposing of any extra medication.

Summary

Irbesartan helps control blood pressure in patients with hypertension. The oral drug may also be appropriate for treating kidney disease with type 2 diabetes. Patients with chronic heart failure may also benefit from taking the drug. Only a doctor can write a proper prescription for irbesartan. Appropriate use of the drug not only treats hypertension, but also prevents or minimizes the risk of potentially severe cardiac and brain problems and other body organ defects, including stroke, heart attack, and kidney disease.

Even if a hypertension patient feels well, they should continue using their irbesartan treatment as their doctor ordered because the condition never goes away permanently and its symptoms are not always evident. Nonetheless, it is imperative to watch out for potential side effects of the medication and notify the physician about these once they occur. These include sickness, swelling of body parts, diarrhea, and trouble breathing.

The patient should also be aware of other drugs that may cause adverse clinical reactions when used along with irbesartan. If you are already taking such medications, such as NSAIDs or ACE inhibitors, inform your doctor before embarking on your hypertension regimen. Likewise, reveal your medical history to your healthcare giver to help them work out the most appropriate treatment and diet for controlling your high blood pressure.