Uses for angiotensin II receptor blockers

Doctors prescribe these drugs to prevent, treat or improve symptoms in a variety of conditions, such as:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart failure
  • Kidney failure in diabetes
  • Chronic kidney diseases
  • Hardening and thickening of the skin (scleroderma)

Side effects and cautions

Few people have side effects when taking angiotensin II receptor blockers, but possible side effects may include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nasal congestion
  • Back and leg pain
  • Diarrhea

There have been some reports of intestinal problems known as sprue-like enteropathy in those taking olmesartan. Talk to your doctor if you develop severe diarrhea or experience significant weight loss while taking olmesartan.

Rare but more-serious side effects include:

  • Kidney failure
  • Liver failure
  • Allergic reaction
  • A drop in white blood cells
  • Localized swelling of tissues (angioedema)

Because angiotensin II receptor blockers can cause birth defects, don't take them if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

Feb. 01, 2014 See more In-depth