Olmesartan is commonly used to treat high blood pressure. Although it is not a cure, the drug does cause blood vessels to relax, allowing more blood to flow from the heart to the rest of the body and lowering blood pressure. It is usually taken on a daily basis, and, as with any medication, side effects, such as dizziness, are possible.
What Is Olmesartan?Olmesartan medoxomil (Benicar®) is a prescription medicine that has been licensed to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) in adults and children as young as six years old.
(Click What Is Olmesartan Used For? for more information on the drug's uses, including possible off-label indications.)
How Does This Medication Work?Olmesartan is part of a class of drugs called angiotensin II receptor blockers, or ARBs for short. As the name implies, it blocks angiotensin II receptors. This decreases the effectiveness of a chemical known as angiotensin II, which normally causes blood vessels to narrow (constrict). By blocking the effects of angiotensin II, the medication causes blood vessels to relax, which can lower blood pressure.
Effects of OlmesartanA blood pressure reading consists of two numbers -- for example, 120/80. The top number is the systolic blood pressure, and the bottom number is the diastolic blood pressure. During clinical studies in people taking olmesartan 40 mg, systolic blood pressure decreased by 12 mmHg, on average, and diastolic blood pressure decreased by 7 mmHg, on average. Lower doses resulted in a smaller drop in blood pressure.
By lowering blood pressure, olmesartan can decrease the risks that are often seen with long-term hypertension (see Effects of High Blood Pressure).