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Angiotensin Receptor Blocker (ARB)

An angiotensin receptor blocker relaxes your blood vessels and allows your heart to pump easier (similar to ACE inhibitors). You would be prescribed an ARB if you cannot tolerate an ACE inhibitors (such as a cough).

Frequently used angiotensin receptor blockers include:

  • losartan (Cozaar®)
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    Losartan

    Treats high blood pressure. Reduces the risk of stroke in patients with high blood pressure and enlargement of the heart.

    Learn more about losartan here.

  • valsartan (Diovan®)
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    Valsartan

    Treats high blood pressure. This medicine is a combination of a calcium channel blocker and an angiotensin receptor blocker.

    Learn more about valsartan here.

  • candesartan (Atacand®)
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    Candesartan

    Treats high blood pressure and heart failure.

    Learn more about candesartan here.

  • irbesartan (Avapro®)
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    Irbesartan

    Used alone or with other medicines to treat high blood pressure.

    Learn more about irbesartan here.

  • telmisartan (Micardis®).
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    Telmisartan

    Treats high blood pressure.

    Learn more about telmisartan here.

Side effects

When you start taking an angiotensin receptor blocker, you may have an increased chance of retaining potassium. Call your health care provider if you have any of the following signs of high potassium:

Important

If you have any of the signs of too much potassium listed here, call your health care provider.

  • confusion
  • irregular heartbeat
  • nervousness
  • numbness or tingling in your hands, feet or lips
  • weakness or a heavy feeling in your legs.

When to call your health care provider

Call your health care provider if you have any of the following while taking an ARB:

  • dizziness/lightheadedness
  • Important

    If you have any of the side effects listed here, call your health care provider.

  • fever
  • sore throat
  • hoarseness.

Side effects that go away after use include:

  • headache
  • diarrhea
  • fatigue
  • nasal congestion
  • cough
  • back pain.

 

 

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Heart Failure, third edition, ISBN 1-931876-20-7

First published: 10/04/2002
Last updated: 07/19/2008

Reviewed by: Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts