Avapro (irbesartan) is a prescription medication option for the treatment of hypertension or diabetic nephropathy in people with hypertension. Avapro is in the angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB) medication class. It works by blocking angiotensin II, which is a type of hormone.
Angiotensin II raises high blood pressure by squeezing blood vessels and encouraging the release of another hormone called aldosterone. Aldosterone influences the kidneys to hold onto salt and water. With high amounts of salt and water in the body, blood pressure also rises.
Angiotensin II can also lead to kidney damage by squeezing the kidney blood vessels and lessening blood flow to the kidneys. Angiotensin II and aldosterone are some of the hormones in the renin-angiotensin system (RAS).
If you suspect that you’re pregnant, notify your healthcare provider to discuss the next steps, such as stopping the ARB during your pregnancy. Taking an ARB—like irbesartan—while pregnant might have negative effects on the fetus.
What Is Avapro Used For?
Avapro is used to treat high blood pressure and diabetes-related kidney disease in people with high blood pressure. Hypertension is a blood pressure measurement with the top number being higher than 130 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or the bottom number is more than 80 millimeters of mercury.
In the United States (U.S.), 116 million adults have high blood pressure or take medications to treat this condition. However, only 1 in 4 adults with high blood pressure has their conditions well-controlled.
Uncontrolled blood pressure raises the likelihood of heart attack or stroke, which are the leading causes of death in the U.S. Uncontrolled blood pressure also raises the risk of kidney disease in people with diabetes—which is a high blood sugar medical condition.
Purium’s Revive-It-All can enhance circulation, may support lower blood pressure, helps increase energy and vigor and can help improve mood, memory and cognition!
Avapro (Irbesartan) oral tablets don’t cause drowsiness, but it can cause other side effects.
The more common side effects that can occur with irbesartan include:
- dizziness, especially when standing up after sitting or lying down
If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
Serious Side Effects
Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:
- Chest pain
- Very severe headache
- Allergic reaction
How to Take Avapro
Take Avapro once a day by mouth with or without food. Remember to continue to take your medication regularly, even if you feel well. Aside from your blood pressure readings, there are usually few noticeable symptoms to indicate that your blood pressure is too high. Therefore, it is important to take your medication as prescribed.
Dosage: How Much Avapro Should I Take?
The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor’s orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
- For oral dosage forms (suspension or tablets):
- Adults—20 to 40 milligrams (mg) once a day in the evening. Your doctor may adjust your dose as needed.
- Children 10 years of age and older—10 to 40 mg once a day in the evening. Your doctor may increase your dose as needed.
- Children younger than 10 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
Taking Avapro during the second or third trimester of your pregnancy can have negative effects on the fetus. If you suspect that you’re pregnant, immediately inform your healthcare provider and stop taking Avapro.
As for breastfeeding, there is limited data on the effectiveness and safety in nursing babies. Although it’s unknown whether Avapro is present in human breast milk, it is present in rat milk. Due to the potential for negative effects on nursing babies, the manufacturer—Sanofi-Aventis—doesn’t recommend taking Avapro while nursing.
There was no rebound high blood pressure when stopping Avapro after eight weeks of therapy. Even if you feel well, however, continue to take your medication until you and your healthcare provider decide to stop it. Taking Avapro may prevent a heart attack, stroke, and worsening kidney function.
Overdose: What Happens If I Take Too Much Avapro?
There is limited overdose data for Avapro. However, daily Avapro doses of up to 900 milligrams are well-tolerated. If you take too much Avapro, you will likely experience extremely low blood pressure. You might also have a fast or slow heartbeat.
What Are Reasons I Shouldn’t Take Avapro?
If the following applies to you, avoid Avapro:
- Pregnancy: Taking Avapro while pregnant might have negative effects on the fetus.
- Severe allergic reaction: Don’t take it if you’re allergic to Avapro or its components.
- Tekturna (aliskiren) use: If you have diabetes and take Tekturna, the manufacturer recommends avoiding Avapro.
It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits. This will allow your doctor to see if the medicine is working properly and to decide if you should continue to take it. Blood and urine tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.
Using this medicine while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control to keep from getting pregnant. If you think you have become pregnant while using the medicine, tell your doctor right away.
Call your doctor right away if you have unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness, especially if you also have unusual tiredness or a fever. These may be symptoms of serious muscle problems, such as myopathy or immune-mediated necrotizing myopathy (IMNM). Myopathy is more common when high doses of simvastatin (eg, 80 milligrams) are used, but some people get myopathy with lower doses.
Call your doctor right away if you have dark-colored urine, diarrhea, a fever, muscle cramps or spasms, muscle pain or stiffness, or feel very tired or weak. These could be symptoms of a serious muscle problem called rhabdomyolysis, which can cause kidney problems.
Call your doctor right away if you get a headache, stomach pain, vomiting, dark-colored urine, loss of appetite, weight loss, general feeling of tiredness or weakness, light-colored stools, upper right stomach pain, or yellow eyes or skin. These could be symptoms of liver damage.
Make sure any doctor or dentist who treats you knows that you are using this medicine. You may need to stop using this medicine if you have major surgery, a major injury, or you develop other serious health problems.
Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.
Avapro May Interact With Other Medications
Avapro (Irbesartan) oral tablets can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well.
To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
Blood Pressure Drugs
Taking other blood pressure-lowering drugs with irbesartan can increase your risk of high potassium levels, kidney damage, and low blood pressure (hypotension). You shouldn’t use irbesartan with aliskiren if you have diabetes or severely decreased kidney function.
Taking lithium with irbesartan may increase the levels of lithium in your body. This may cause dangerous effects from lithium.
Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs
Using irbesartan with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can increase your risk of kidney damage. Your risk may be higher if you’re a senior, take a diuretic, are dehydrated, or already have poor kidney function. Irbesartan may also not work as well when taken with NSAIDs.
Examples of NSAIDs include:
Drugs That Increase Potassium Levels
Taking these medications with irbesartan can increase your potassium levels even more. Examples of these drugs include:
- potassium-sparing diuretics, such as:
- potassium supplements
- salt substitutes that contain potassium
Important Considerations For Taking Avapro
Keep these considerations in mind if your doctor prescribes irbesartan for you.
- You can take irbesartan with or without food.
- You can cut or crush the tablet.
- Store irbesartan at room temperature from 68°F to 77°F (20°C to 25°C).
- Don’t freeze irbesartan.
- Keep this drug away from light.
- Don’t store this medication in moist or damp areas, such as bathrooms.
A prescription for this medication is refillable. You should not need a new prescription for this medication to be refilled. Your doctor will write the number of refills authorized on your prescription.
When traveling with your medication:
- Always carry your medication with you. When flying, never put it into a checked bag. Keep it in your carry-on bag.
- Don’t worry about airport X-ray machines. They can’t harm your medication.
- You may need to show airport staff the pharmacy label for your medication. Always carry the original prescription-labeled container with you.
- Don’t put this medication in your car’s glove compartment or leave it in the car. Be sure to avoid doing this when the weather is very hot or very cold.
Your doctor may ask you to check your blood pressure at home. You should keep a log with the date, time of day, and your blood pressure readings. Bring this log with you to your doctor appointments. You may need to buy a blood pressure monitor to check your blood pressure at home.
During treatment with this drug, your doctor may check your:
- potassium levels
- kidney function
- blood pressure
You may need to purchase a home blood pressure monitor to keep track of your blood pressure. These are available at most pharmacies and online.
What Medications Are Similar?
There are many blood pressure medication classes. Avapro, however, is in the ARB medication class, which also includes the following:
- Edarbi (azilsartan)
As previously mentioned, taking more than one RAS-blocking medication—like multiple ARBs—is not typically recommended. If you have questions, please talk with your healthcare provider.
Out of all the available ARBs, Avapro doesn’t have many combination products. Avapro also has fewer drug and food interactions. In addition to diabetes-related kidney disease, Avapro is the first-choice ARB for people with erectile dysfunction (ED). People with diabetes, gout, and dementia may also benefit more Avapro.
READ MORE: Type 2 Diabetes – What To Eat And Avoid
How Can I Stay Healthy While Taking Avapro?
As you are taking Avapro, lifestyle changes are important. Recommendations include:
- Eating with less salt
- Drinking less alcohol
- Having a healthy diet
- Losing weight
- Managing stress
- Quitting smoking
To achieve the healthy diet goals for high blood pressure, diabetes, and CKD, consider meeting with a registered dietitian to help you come up with the best plan for you.
In addition to the above lifestyle changes, having a strong social support network can help. Consider sharing about your medical conditions to help your loved ones become more aware and provide you with the necessary encouragement or support.
Living with high blood pressure, diabetes, and CKD can understandably take a toll on your emotions. Make sure that you have proper sleep hygiene to help you consistently get enough sleep every night.
Find ways—like meditation or deep-breathing exercises—to decompress every day. A mental health professional can also help you with some coping strategies. If necessary, there are also some medications to help improve mood conditions.