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Warnings and precautions with olmesartan that you should be aware of prior to taking the drug include conditions such as heart disease, liver disease, or kidney disease. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, as well as people on dialysis, should not take olmesartan. Warnings and precautions with olmesartan also extend to potential drug interactions, so tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Olmesartan: What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking olmesartan medoxomil (Benicar®) if you have:
- Heart disease, including congestive heart failure
- Liver disease, including cirrhosis
- Kidney disease or kidney failure
- Any allergies, including allergies to other angiotensin II receptor blockers, foods, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
- Pregnant or trying to become pregnant
- On dialysis
Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you are currently taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Specific Warnings and Precautions With OlmesartanOlmesartan warnings and precautions to be aware of include:
- Olmesartan can interact with certain medications (see Drug Interactions With Olmesartan).
- Olmesartan may cause extremely low blood pressure in some people. This is more likely to happen in people who are taking a diuretic, who are on dialysis, or who have congestive heart failure. If you have any possible symptoms of low blood pressure, such as dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting, contact your healthcare provider. If you have fainted, stop taking olmesartan until you have talked to your healthcare provider.
- Make sure not to drive, operate any heavy machinery, or perform any other tasks that require alertness before you know how olmesartan affects you.
- Olmesartan is a pregnancy Category D medicine, meaning that it can present health risks to your unborn child. Let your healthcare provider know if you are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant while taking the medication (see Benicar and Pregnancy).
- Olmesartan may cause a decrease in kidney function, especially in people who are elderly, have kidney disease, have severe congestive heart failure (CHF), or are taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or diuretics (water pills). Your healthcare provider may choose to monitor your kidney function with a blood test while you are taking it. Contact your healthcare provider if you notice a decrease in urination or swelling in your hands, legs, ankles, or feet, which can be signs of kidney problems.
- Reports of severe, chronic diarrhea with substantial weight loss have been reported in people taking olmesartan. This side effect can occur months or even years after starting the drug. If you develop such problems, your healthcare provider should check for other problems first, but if no other cause for the diarrhea and weight loss is found, you might need to stop taking olmesartan.
- While taking olmesartan, do not use potassium supplements or salt substitutes with potassium, unless you have discussed this with your doctor. This is because in some people taking olmesartan, potassium in the blood can increase to dangerous levels.
- Angiotensin II receptor blockers, including olmesartan, have been known to cause a decrease in kidney function, especially in certain groups, such as those with severe congestive heart failure. Let your healthcare provider know if you have symptoms such as a decrease in urine output, drowsiness, headache, or back pain. Your healthcare provider will also regularly check your kidney function with a blood test.
- If you are nursing, it is not known whether olmesartan passes through your breast milk. Therefore, if you are nursing, talk with your healthcare provider about whether you should stop taking olmesartan or stop breastfeeding.