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Brand Name
Atacand
Common Name
candesartan
How does this medication work? What will it do for me?

Candesartan belongs to a family of medications known as angiotensin II receptor blockers. It is used to lower high blood pressure and treat heart failure. It works by relaxing blood vessels.

Angiotensin II is a chemical that the body releases to cause the constriction of blood vessels. Candesartan blocks the action of angiotensin II, resulting in the relaxation of the blood vessels. This relaxation causes the blood pressure to decrease. It takes about 2 weeks for this medication to begin lowering blood pressure, and about 4 weeks for it to reach its full effect.

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.

Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.

How should I use this medication?

The usual recommended starting dose of candesartan is 16 mg once daily at approximately the same time each day, with or without food. This medication should be taken in the same manner each day.

Reductions in blood pressure are often seen within 2 weeks, and the full effects on blood pressure are seen in about 4 weeks. Your doctor may decide to increase the dose to 32 mg once a day if blood pressure has not decreased enough. A diuretic (water pill) may also be added to help reduce the blood pressure.

Many things can affect the dose of a medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.

It is important that this medication be taken exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose but remember within 12 hours, take it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If more than 12 hours have passed since your usual dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

It is important to take this medication regularly and to follow your doctor's instructions regarding monitoring your blood pressure to ensure that you receive the maximum benefit from the medication.

Store this medication at room temperature (in a dry place and not in the bathroom) in its original package and keep it out of the reach of children.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

4 mg
Each circular, biconvex, white tablet, marked "A" over "CF" on one side and marked "004" on the other side, contains candesartan cilexetil 4 mg. Nonmedicinal ingredients: calcium carboxymethylcellulose, cornstarch, hydroxypropyl cellulose, lactose, magnesium stearate, and polyethylene glycol.

8 mg
Each circular, biconvex, light pink tablet, with a score and marked "A" over "CG" on one side and marked "008" on the other side, contains candesartan cilexetil 8 mg. Nonmedicinal ingredients: calcium carboxymethylcellulose, cornstarch, hydroxypropyl cellulose, iron oxide, lactose, magnesium stearate, and polyethylene glycol.

16 mg
Each circular, biconvex, pink tablet, with a score and marked "A" over "CH" on one side and marked "016" on the other side, contains candesartan cilexetil 16 mg. Nonmedicinal ingredients: calcium carboxymethylcellulose, cornstarch, hydroxypropyl cellulose, iron oxide, lactose, magnesium stearate, and polyethylene glycol.

32 mg
Each circular, biconvex, pink tablet, with a score and marked "A" over "CL" on one side and marked "032" on the other side, contains candesartan cilexetil 32 mg. Nonmedicinal ingredients: calcium carboxymethylcellulose, cornstarch, hydroxypropyl cellulose, iron oxide, lactose, magnesium stearate, and polyethylene glycol.

Who should NOT take this medication?

Candesartan should not be taken by anyone who:

  • is allergic to candesartan or to any of the ingredients of the medication
  • is pregnant
What side effects are possible with this medication?

Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent. The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.

The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.

Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.

  • back pain
  • dizziness
  • ear congestion or pain
  • fever
  • head congestion
  • headache
  • nasal congestion
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • sneezing
  • sore throat

Although most of these side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not check with your doctor or seek medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

  • bleeding gums
  • chills or fever
  • cough or hoarseness
  • dark urine
  • dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting
  • nosebleeds
  • pain in joints, lower back, or side
  • painful or difficult urination
  • swelling of feet or lower legs
  • unexplained muscle pain

Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.

Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?

HEALTH CANADA ADVISORY

February 4, 2014

Health Canada has issued new restrictions concerning the use of candesartan. To read the full Health Canada Advisory, visit Health Canada's web site at www.hc-sc.gc.ca.

Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.

Kidney problems: Candesartan may affect the function of the kidneys, especially in those who already have kidney problems. Make sure to tell your doctor if you have kidney problems so that he or she can closely monitor your kidney function.

Liver problems: The ability of the body to break down (eliminate) candesartan may be affected in people with below-normal liver function. Be sure to tell your doctor if you have liver problems.

Low blood pressure: Occasionally, a larger-than-expected decrease in blood pressure occurs after taking candesartan. In some cases, this happens after the first dose. It is more likely to occur if you take diuretics, have a reduced salt intake, are on dialysis, or are experiencing diarrhea or vomiting. Blood pressure should be monitored more often in these situations. Those with low blood pressure or those just starting to take this medication should move slowly from a reclining to an upright position to reduce the risk of dizziness.

Potassium levels: This medication may affect potassium levels in the blood, especially when used for heart failure, or when taken with other medications called ACE inhibitors or diuretics such as spironolactone. Your doctor will monitor your potassium levels while on this medication.

Pregnancy: Candesartan should not be taken by pregnant women. If you discover you are pregnant while taking this medication, stop taking it and tell your doctor at once.

Breast-feeding: It is not known if candesartan passes into breast milk. Breast-feeding is not recommended while taking candesartan because of the possibility of serious side effects to the child. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.

Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children.

What other drugs could interact with this medication?

There may be an interaction between candesartan and any of the following:

  • diuretics (water pills)
  • lithium
  • medications that increase potassium in the blood (e.g., amiloride, spironolactone, triamterene, or salt supplements containing potassium)
  • potassium supplements

If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:

  • stop taking one of the medications,
  • change one of the medications to another,
  • change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
  • leave everything as is.

An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.

Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.





The contents of this site are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition.
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