Drug Therapy: Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers

Angiotensin II receptor blockers are used to treat high blood pressure. These drugs block the action of an enzyme (angiotensin II) that makes the blood vessels get narrower. They work more directly than ACE inhibitors and may cause fewer side effects. Angiotensin II receptor blockers may be combined with ACE inhibitors but are sometimes used alone in people who cannot take ACE inhibitors.

If these medications are prescribed, the doctor should be made aware of any other drug, vitamin, mineral or herbal supplement the patient is taking, especially:

  • Drugs to manage high blood pressure or a heart condition
  • Diuretics
  • Medicines, vitamins or salt substitutes that contain potassium
  • Over-the-counter drugs for hay fever, colds or flu
Patients should not drink alcohol while taking these drugs without talking to the doctor first. Alcohol combined with angiotensin II receptor blockers can make the blood pressure lower than it should be, causing dizziness or faintness.
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