Brand name: Benicar is the brand name for olmesartan medoxomil.

Generic name: Olmesartan medoxomil (oh-LEM-eh-sar-tan MEH-dox-oh-mil)

Benicar is a prescription medication used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension). It belongs to a class of drugs called angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs). Benicar works by relaxing blood vessels and lowering blood pressure.

High blood pressure is a common condition and when not treated, can lead to serious health problems such as heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure. Benicar is usually well-tolerated but like all medications, there is a risk of side effects. The most common side effects are dizziness, headache, fatigue, and diarrhea.

If you have high blood pressure and are looking for an effective treatment option, ask your doctor about Benicar.

Pharmacokinetics

Benicar (olmesartan) is an angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB) that is used for the treatment of hypertension. It works by relaxing blood vessels and lowering blood pressure.

The pharmacokinetics of Benicar have been evaluated in healthy adults and patients with hypertension. In healthy adults, the peak plasma concentration (Cmax) of olmesartan was reached 3-4 hours after oral administration. The mean Cmax was 22 ng/mL. Food slightly increased the Cmax of olmesartan but had no effect on its absorption rate (AUC).

Olmesartan is metabolized by cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) and is a substrate of P-glycoprotein (P-gp). CYP3A4 inhibitors, such as ketoconazole, increase olmesartan plasma concentrations while P-gp inhibitors, such as verapamil, decrease olmesartan plasma concentrations.

The pharmacokinetics of Benicar have also been evaluated in children 6-16 years of age. The Cmax and AUC of olmesartan were similar to those observed in adults.

Side Effects

The most common side effects of Benicar are dizziness, headache, fatigue, and diarrhea. Other possible side effects include:

  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • Kidney problems
  • Liver problems
  • Allergic reactions (rash, hives, difficulty breathing)
  • Angioedema (swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat)

If you experience any of these side effects, contact your doctor immediately. Benicar can cause serious or life-threatening side effects in some people. If you experience any of the following symptoms, go to the nearest emergency room:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat

Benicar can also cause fetal harm when taken during pregnancy. If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, tell your doctor before taking this medication.

Warnings and Precautions

Before taking Benicar, tell your doctor if you:

  • Have kidney problems
  • Have liver problems
  • Are pregnant or planning to become pregnant

Take caution when driving or operating machinery as Benicar may cause dizziness or fatigue. Alcohol can increase these effects. Avoid getting up too fast from a sitting or lying position, or you may feel dizzy. Benicar may also cause blurred vision.

Benicar can interact with other medications, so be sure to tell your doctor about all the medications you are taking, including over-the-counter drugs and supplements.

Do not take Benicar if you are allergic to olmesartan or any of the ingredients in this medication.

Interactions

Benicar can interact with other medications, so be sure to tell your doctor about all the medications you are taking, including over-the-counter drugs and supplements.

Some of the most common drug interactions with Benicar include:

  • ACE inhibitors (such as lisinopril, enalapril)
  • Aliskiren (such as Tekturna)
  • Angiotensin II receptor blockers (such as irbesartan, valsartan)
  • Diuretics (“water pills” such as furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide)
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, naproxen)

Benicar can also interact with lithium, potassium supplements, and salt substitutes that contain potassium. These interactions can increase your risk of low blood pressure or kidney problems. Be sure to tell your doctor about all the medications and supplements you are taking before starting Benicar.

Dosage and Administration

The recommended starting dose of Benicar is 20 mg once daily. The dose may be increased to a maximum of 40 mg once daily if needed.

Patients with kidney problems may need a lower dose or different dosing schedule. Your doctor will determine the best dosage for you based on your medical condition and response to treatment.

Benicar should be taken with water and can be taken with or without food. It is important to take Benicar exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not skip doses or stop taking Benicar without first talking to your doctor.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose of Benicar, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take two doses of Benicar at the same time.

Overdose

If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 999. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. Symptoms of overdose may include:

  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Heartbeat that is fast, slow, or irregular
  • Severe hypotension (low blood pressure)

Storage

Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets.

Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company for more details about how to safely discard your product.