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

Irbesartan belongs to a family of medicines known as angiotensin II receptor blockers. These medicines are used to lower high blood pressure and work by relaxing blood vessels. Irbesartan is used to lower blood pressure and decrease the rate of the progression of kidney damage in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Angiotensin II is a chemical that the body releases to cause the constriction of blood vessels. Irbesartan blocks the action of angiotensin II, resulting in the relaxation of the blood vessels. This relaxation causes the blood pressure to decrease. The full effects of irbesartan are usually seen within about 4 weeks. It can be used alone or in combination with thiazide diuretics (water pills; e.g., hydrochlorothiazide).

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 starting dose of irbesartan is 150 mg daily at approximately the same time each day, with or without food (but taken in the same manner each day). The doctor may decide to increase the dose to 300 mg once a day if the blood pressure has not come down enough.

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 to take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor, and to follow the doctor's instructions regarding monitoring blood pressure to ensure that you receive the maximum benefit from the medication.. If you miss a dose but remember it within 12 hours, take it as soon as possible and then go back to your regular dose. If it is more than 12 hours later than 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.

Store this medication at room temperature and protect it from moisture.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

75 mg
Each white to off-white biconvex, oval tablet, with a heart shape debossed on one side and the digits "2771" on the other, contains irbesartan 75 mg. Nonmedicinal ingredients: croscarmellose sodium, lactose, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, poloxamer 188, pregelatinized starch, and silicon dioxide.

150 mg
Each white to off-white biconvex, oval tablet, with a heart shape debossed on one side and the digits "2772" on the other, contains irbesartan 150 mg. Nonmedicinal ingredients: croscarmellose sodium, lactose, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, poloxamer 188, pregelatinized starch, and silicon dioxide.

300 mg
Each white to off-white biconvex, oval tablet, with a heart shape debossed on one side and the digits "2773" on the other, contains irbesartan 300 mg. Nonmedicinal ingredients: croscarmellose sodium, lactose, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, poloxamer 188, pregelatinized starch, and silicon dioxide.

Who should NOT take this medication?

Irbesartan should not be taken by anyone who:

  • is allergic to irbesartan 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.

  • anxiety or nervousness
  • belching, heartburn, and stomach discomfort
  • chest pain
  • cough
  • diarrhea
  • heartburn
  • muscle or bone pain
  • swelling of the ankles
  • unusual tiredness

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:

  • difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting
  • hoarseness
  • swelling of the feet, face, hands, lips, or tongue
  • tightening of the throat

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?


February 4, 2014

Health Canada has issued new restrictions concerning the use of irbesartan. To read the full Health Canada Advisory, visit Health Canada's web site at

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.

Drowsiness/reduced alertness: Dizziness and lightheadedness may occur, especially if you have been taking a diuretic (water pill). Do not drive vehicles or undertake other potentially hazardous activties until you have determined that this medication does not affect you in this way.

Kidney problems: Irbesartan 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) irbesartan 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 irbesartan. In some cases, this happens after the first dose. It is more likely to occur if you take diuretics (water pills), 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.

Medical conditions: Be sure to tell your doctor if you have any of the following conditions, as they may affect your use of this medication:

  • heart disease
  • recent heart attack or stroke
  • valvular stenosis (narrowing of the heart valves)

Pregnancy: Irbesartan should not be taken by pregnant women. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.

Breast-feeding: Breast-feeding is generally not recommended because of the possibility of serious side effects to the infant. 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 irbesartan and any of the following:

  • angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors (e.g., ramipril, enalapril)
  • diuretics (water pills; e.g., hydrochlorothiazide, furosemide)
  • lithium
  • medications that increase the level of potassium in the blood (e.g., spironolactone, amiloride, triamterene, or salt substitutes that contain potassium)
  • other blood pressure medications
  • potassium pills or 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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