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Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers

What are angiotensin receptor blockers used for?

Angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) are a type of blood pressure medicine used to:

  • Help prevent stroke or heart attack
  • Treat heart failure
  • Treat high blood pressure
  • Help prevent kidney problems if you have high blood pressure or diabetes
  • Lower the risk of death from heart disease

They may be used for other conditions as determined by your healthcare provider.

There are several different ARBs. They may be used alone or with other medicines. Which ARB is best for you depends on your condition and health. ARBs may be prescribed if you cannot take another type of blood pressure medicine called ACE inhibitors.

How do they work?

ARBs block the effect of angiotensin II. Angiotensin II is a chemical in your body that makes your blood vessels narrow. If you have too much angiotensin II, your blood pressure may get too high. High blood pressure makes your heart work harder and can damage other organs like your eyes or kidneys.

ARBs help the blood vessels relax and open up. This makes it easier for blood to flow through the blood vessels and lowers blood pressure. ARBs also lower blood pressure by helping your body get rid of more water and salt (sodium). When blood pressure is lower, the heart does not have to work as hard to pump blood to the rest of the body. Lowering blood pressure helps prevent heart attack and stroke. It also makes it easier to treat heart failure.

What else do I need to know about this medicine?

  • Follow the directions that come with your medicine, including information about food or alcohol. Make sure you know how and when to take your medicine. Do not take more or less than you are supposed to take.
  • Many medicines have side effects. A side effect is a symptom or problem that is caused by the medicine. Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist what side effects the medicine may cause and what you should do if you have side effects.
  • If you are thinking of getting pregnant or could become pregnant, you should discuss this with your provider. Some blood pressure medicines can harm an unborn baby. You will need to stop these medicines if you want to get pregnant. Tell your provider right away if you get pregnant while taking this medicine.
  • Try to get all of your prescriptions filled at the same place. Your pharmacist can help make sure that all of your medicines are safe to take together.
  • Keep a list of your medicines with you. List all of the prescription medicines, nonprescription medicines, supplements, natural remedies, and vitamins that you take. Tell all healthcare providers who treat you about all of the products you are taking.

If you have any questions, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for more information. Be sure to keep all appointments for provider visits or tests.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2014-02-02
Last reviewed: 2014-01-25
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.

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