Why is Losartan potassium prescribed?
Losartan potassium is used in the treatment of high blood pressure. It is effective when used alone or with other high blood pressure medications, such as diuretics that help the body get rid of water. Losartan potassium is also used to slow the progress of kidney disease caused by type 2 diabetes (the type of diabetes that doesn't require insulin shots). It is the first of a new class of blood pressure medications called angiotensin II receptor antagonists. Losartan potassium works, in part, by preventing the hormone angiotensin II from constricting the blood vessels, which tends to raise blood pressure.
Most important fact about Losartan potassium
You must take Losartan potassium regularly for it to be effective. Since blood pressure declines gradually, it may be several weeks before you get the full benefit of Losartan potassium, and you must continue taking it even if you are feeling well. Losartan potassium does not cure high blood pressure; it merely keeps it under control.
How should you take Losartan potassium?
Losartan potassium can be taken with or without food.
Take it at the same time each day. For example, if you take the medication every morning before or after breakfast, you will establish a regular routine and be less likely to forget your dose.
If you miss a dose...
Take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular schedule.
Store at room temperature. Keep in a tightly closed container, away from light.
What side effects may occur?
Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking Losartan potassium.
Side effects may include:
Cough, dizziness, upper respiratory infection
Other side effects, such as weakness and chest pain, have been reported by people taking Losartan potassium for diabetic kidney disease. Severe allergic reactions, including swelling of the face and throat, are also a possibility.
Why should Losartan potassium not be prescribed?
Do not take Losartan potassium when you are pregnant. Avoid it if you have ever had an allergic reaction to it.
Special warnings about Losartan potassium
Losartan potassium can cause low blood pressure, especially if you are also taking a diuretic. You may feel light-headed or faint, especially during the first few days of therapy. If these symptoms occur, contact your doctor. Your dosage may need to be adjusted or discontinued. Be sure you know how you react to Losartan potassium before you drive or operate machinery.
Excessive sweating, dehydration, severe diarrhea, or vomiting could make you lose too much water, causing a severe drop in blood pressure. Call your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms.
Be sure to tell your doctor about any medical conditions you have, especially liver or kidney disease and congestive heart failure. In very rare cases, Losartan potassium has triggered fatal kidney problems in people with heart failure.
Losartan potassium tends to increase the level of potassium in the blood. Check with your doctor before taking potassium supplements or using a salt substitute.
Possible food and drug interactions when taking Losartan potassium
If Losartan potassium is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before taking Losartan potassium with the following:
Diuretics that leave potassium in the body, such as amiloride, spironolactone, and triamterene
Special information if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
Drugs such as Losartan potassium can cause injury or even death to the unborn child when used in the second or third trimester of pregnancy. Stop taking Losartan potassium as soon as you know you are pregnant. If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, tell your doctor before taking Losartan potassium. Losartan potassium may appear in breast milk and could affect the nursing infant. If Losartan potassium is essential to your health, your doctor may advise you to stop breastfeeding while you are taking Losartan potassium.
Recommended dosage for Losartan potassium
High blood pressure
The usual starting dose is 50 milligrams once daily. However, Losartan potassium can also be taken twice daily, with total daily doses ranging from 25 milligrams to 100 milligrams. If your blood pressure does not respond within 3 to 6 weeks, your doctor may increase your dose or add a low-dose diuretic to your regimen.
For people taking diuretics and people with liver problems, the usual starting dose is 25 milligrams daily. Your doctor may adjust your dosage according to your response.
Kidney disease caused by diabetes
The usual starting dose is 50 milligrams once daily. The doctor may increase the dose to 100 milligrams once a day if blood pressure remains too high.
The safety and effectiveness of Losartan potassium in children have not been studied.
Any medication taken in excess can have serious consequences. If you suspect an overdose, seek medical attention immediately. Information concerning Losartan potassium overdosage is limited. However, hypotension (low blood pressure) and abnormally rapid or slow heartbeat may be signs of an overdose.