What is Atacand (Candesartan)?
Atacand is a medication prescribed to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) in adults and children 1 year and older, and heart failure in adult patients.
Atacand belongs to the drug class, angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs). This medication works by keeping the blood vessels from narrowing, which lowers blood pressure. This allows more blood and oxygen to get to your heart and other organs and helps your heart to not work as hard. It will lower your risk of heart attack or stroke.
Atacand is not recommended:
- If you are allergic or have had an allergic reaction to Atacand or ingredients in Atacand
- If you are pregnant or breastfeeding
- For children under 1-year-old
What are the Indications for Atacand?
Atacand is approved to treat high blood pressure and heart failure, and help prevent strokes, heart attacks, and kidney problems.
How is Atacand used?
Atacand should be stored in the original package between 68°F and 77°F (20°C and 25°C) away from heat and moisture.
Keep out of reach of children.
Take Atacand by mouth, as directed by your doctor, at any time of the day, but it should be taken at the same time every day. It can be taken with or without food.
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, only take one dose. Do not catch up by taking two doses at once.
Do not change your dosage, take more than what is prescribed, or stop using Atacand without consulting with your doctor. If you took more than prescribed, contact your doctor immediately or seek emergency medical care.
Atacand is available in tablet form in the following strengths: 4 mg, 8 mg, 16 mg and 32 mg.
The recommended starting dose for hypertension is 16 mg, and 4 mg per day for heart failure in adult patients. The recommended starting dose for children is 4 mg. The medicine is usually taken once a day, but your doctor might divide it into 2 doses.
It’s important to understand that although Atacand is FDA approved, it comes with side effects that may or may not affect you.
Before starting Atacand, you should discuss possible side effects with your doctor or pharmacist.
Common Side Effects
Not all side effects require medical attention. As your body adjusts to Atacand, side effects may go away. Tell your doctor if you experience the following symptoms, and they become severe or do not go away on their own.
- Back pain
- Joint/muscle pain
- Stomach pain
- Cold or flu-like symptoms
- High potassium
- Sore throat
- Stuffy nose
- Abnormal kidney test
Serious Side Effects
Severe adverse reactions while taking Atacand may occur. Seek emergency medical care or call 911 if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Allergic reaction: rash, hives itching/swelling, especially the face, tongue and throat, severe dizziness and trouble breathing.
- Liver problems: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss, yellowing skin/whites of eyes, dark urine, pale stools.
- High potassium level: nausea, weakness, tingly feeling, chest pain, slow/irregular heartbeat and loss of movement.
- Kidney problems: little or no urine, blood in urine, swelling, fatigue, abdominal pain.
- Clotting problems: nosebleeds, bruising, blood in urine, coughing blood, bleeding gums, cuts that won’t stop bleeding.
- Pancreatitis: abdominal pain on upper left side, back pain, nausea, fever, chills, rapid heartbeat, swollen abdomen.
- Signs of pneumonia: fever, chills, shortness of breath, cough.
- Signs of stroke: sudden/severe headache, sudden loss of coordination, vision changes, slurring of speech, unexplained weakness, numbness, pain in arm/leg.
- Severe dizziness: feels like you are going to pass out. Lie down immediately if you feel faint or dizzy.
The information above does not list all possible side effects. Contact your doctor or pharmacist if you experience any side effects not listed. You or your doctor may report side effects to the FDA by calling 1-800-FDA-1088.
Warnings & Precautions
Before using Atacand, tell your doctor or pharmacist:
- If you are allergic to Atacand or any ingredients in Atacand
- If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant
- If you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed
- If you have a heart condition other than the one being treated for by Atacand
- If you have kidney or liver diseases
- If you suffer from diabetes and taking the medication aliskiren
- If you have high levels of potassium in your blood
- If you are on a low salt diet
If you have diabetes, do not take Atacand with any medication that contains aliskiren (a blood pressure medicine).
Low blood pressure
Atacand lowers your blood pressure and can make you feel lightheaded or dizzy, especially if you take diuretics (water pills), other medication to lower your blood pressure or alcohol.
High potassium levels
Atacand can increase the amount of potassium in your body and this can lead to heart and kidney problems. Your doctor should check your potassium levels on a regular basis. Avoid using salt substitutes that contain potassium.
Breastfeeding or Planning to Breastfeed
Studies have not been conducted to determine if Atacand will pass through to human milk. Atacand is not recommended when breastfeeding.
Interactions & Contraindications
Before using Atacand, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you take any medications, herbal supplements, or vitamins, especially lithium and NSAIDs.
Pregnant or Planning to Become Pregnant
Atacand is not safe to use while pregnant and can impact the unborn baby and cause harm, especially if taken in the second and third trimester. It will reduce the unborn baby’s renal function and increase the chance of birth defects, injury and death. If you are a female patient, use a reliable form of birth control while taking Atacand. If you fall pregnant or plan to become pregnant, please ask your doctor for a safer medication to use. High blood pressure during pregnancy can cause complications for both mother and baby.
Do not take Atacand if you have severely reduced kidney function as it can cause kidney failure and even death.