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Angiotensin Receptor Blockers (ARBs) (cont.)

Pharmacy Author:
Medical Editor:

Are there any differences among the different types of ARBs?

ARBs are similar in action and side effects. They differ in how they are eliminated from the body and the extent to which they are distributed throughout the body.

  • Some ARBs are converted to an active form in the body before they can exert their effects.

  • Some ARBs are slightly better at reducing blood pressure than others; in some studies, irbesartan (Avapro) and candesartan (Atacand) were slightly more effective in reducing blood pressure than losartan (Cozaar).

  • All ARBs usually are administered once daily for treatment of hypertension. Some patients may benefit from twice daily dosing of losartan (Cozaar) if blood pressure is not controlled with once daily dosing.

What are the side effects of ARBs?

Common side effects include:

ARBs cause cough less frequently than ACE inhibitors. Therefore, they are often substituted for ACE inhibitors when patients complain of cough with ACE inhibitors.

Like other antihypertensives, ARBs are associated with sexual dysfunction.

Serious, but rare, side effects include kidney failure, liver failure, allergic reactions, low white blood cells, and swelling of tissues (angioedema).

Individuals with stenosis (narrowing) of both arteries supplying the kidneys may experience worsening of kidney function.

Individuals who have experienced a severe reaction to an ARBs should not use other ARBs. ARBs usually are not prescribed for pregnant patients because they are associated with birth defects.


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