Angiotensin II receptor blockers treat high blood pressure. Find out when your doctor may prescribe them.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Angiotensin II receptor blockers help relax your veins and arteries to lower your blood pressure and make it easier for your heart to pump blood.

Angiotensin is a chemical in your body that narrows your blood vessels. This narrowing can increase your blood pressure and force your heart to work harder.

Angiotensin II receptor blockers block the action of angiotensin II. As a result, the medication allows your veins and arteries to widen (dilate).

Several angiotensin II receptor blockers are available. Which one is best for you depends on your health and the condition being treated.

Examples of angiotensin II receptor blockers include:

  • Azilsartan (Edarbi)
  • Candesartan (Atacand)
  • Eprosartan
  • Irbesartan (Avapro)
  • Losartan (Cozaar)
  • Olmesartan (Benicar)
  • Telmisartan (Micardis)
  • Valsartan (Diovan)

In addition to treating high blood pressure, angiotensin II receptor blockers may prevent, treat or improve symptoms in people who have:

  • Chronic kidney diseases
  • Heart failure
  • Kidney failure in diabetes

Possible side effects of angiotensin II blockers can include:

  • Dizziness
  • Higher than normal potassium levels in the blood (hyperkalemia)
  • Swelling of the skin due to a buildup of fluid (angioedema)

Some people taking the angiotensin II receptor blocker olmesartan have reported intestinal problems. Talk to your doctor if you develop severe diarrhea or lose a lot of weight while taking this medication.

Don't take angiotensin II receptor blockers if you're pregnant or plan to become pregnant because the drugs can harm a developing fetus.

Aug. 13, 2021