Return to Index
Olmesartan to Lower Blood Pressure
Olmesartan is an angiotensin II receptor blocker used for the treatment of high blood pressure. In studies, the medication lowered both systolic and diastolic levels (the two values that make up a blood pressure reading).
Angiotensin II is a chemical in the body that causes blood vessels to constrict, leading to an increase in blood pressure. Olmesartan lowers blood pressure by blocking the action of this chemical. There are many other angiotensin II receptor blockers available, such as irbesartan and losartan.
Olmesartan can be taken alone or in combination with other high blood pressure medications. Most people may need to take a combination of drugs. This may mean taking olmesartan with a thiazide (diuretic) medication to achieve target blood pressure.
More About Olmesartan
What Is the Dosage?
Olmesartan is taken once a day as an oral tablet. Doses of 20 milligrams (mg) or 40 mg per day may be the most effective for treating high blood pressure.
Who Is Olmesartan For?
Olmesartan is used for for children (aged 6-16 years) and adults who have high blood pressure.
What Are the Side Effects?
Most people tolerate olmesartan well. Common side effects may include:
What Are the Potential Risks?
Two studies found a possible increased risk of death from heart attack or stroke in people with type 2 diabetes who took olmesartan. In 2011, the FDA reviewed these results and concluded that the benefits of taking olmesartan outweigh the possible risks for the treatment of high blood pressure. If you have any concerns about taking olmesartan, talk to your doctor about them.
Is Olmesartan for You?
High blood pressure, one of the most common conditions in the US, is especially dangerous because it rarely produces symptoms and, if not treated, can lead to heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure. The positive news is that high blood pressure can often be controlled by eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and taking medications. If you are having difficulty controlling your blood pressure with lifestyle changes, talk to your doctor about what types of medications are available. Depending on your overall health and the presence of other diseases, and response to other blood-pressure medications olmesartan may be recommended for you.
Food and Drug Administration
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
Public Health Agency of Canada
Benicar (olmesartan): ongoing safety review. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch/SafetyInformation/SafetyAlertsforHumanMedicalProducts/ucm215249.htm. Updated April 14, 2011. Accessed May 13, 2015.
Olmesartan. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated January 18, 2013. Accessed May 13, 2015.
Types of blood pressure medications. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/PreventionTreatmentofHighBloodPressure/Types-of-Blood-Pressure-Medications%5FUCM%5F303247%5FArticle.jsp. Updated May 8, 2015. Accessed May 13, 2015.
Ward KE, Hume, AL. Olmesartan (Benicar) for hypertension. Am Fam Physician. 2005;72(4):673-674.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 05/2015
- Update Date: 05/13/2015