Take olmesartan once each day. You can take your doses either before or after a meal.
Keep your regular appointments with your doctor to have your blood pressure measured.
Some painkillers can interfere with olmesartan and increase the risk of side-effects, so ask a pharmacist for advice before you buy any medicines 'over the counter'.
Clinical author's note: Michael Stewart 15/11/2018: Following an MHRA update, new advice has been added to this leaflet for people also taking the blood pressure medicine hydrochlorothiazide. Hydrochlorothiazide is only available in the UK in combination with other blood pressure medicines such as olmesartan. It may be available on its own in other countries. For more information see 'Getting the most from your treatment' below or view the MHRA Alert.
|Type of medicine||An angiotensin-II receptor antagonist|
|Used for||High blood pressure|
Combination brands: Sevikar® (olmesartan with amlodipine); Olmetec Plus® (olmesartan with hydrochlorothiazide); Sevikar® HCT (olmesartan with amlodipine and hydrochlorothiazide)
Olmesartan is an angiotensin receptor blocker. It is also called an angiotensin-II receptor antagonist, or an AIIRA. You will have been prescribed olmesartan because your blood pressure is too high (hypertension). People with high blood pressure often do not feel unwell but, if left untreated, high blood pressure can harm the heart and damage blood vessels.
Olmesartan works by blocking the effect of a substance in your body called angiotensin II. Angiotensin II causes your blood vessels to narrow, so by blocking its effect, olmesartan allows your blood vessels to relax and widen. As this happens, the pressure within your blood vessels is reduced.
You may be prescribed olmesartan to take on its own, or alongside other medicines to help your condition. There are a number of combination tablets available which contain olmesartan along with two other medicines to treat high blood pressure, amlodipine and hydrochlorothiazide. These combination tablets are often prescribed to help reduce the total number of tablets that need to be taken each day.
Before taking olmesartan
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine can only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking olmesartan it is important that your doctor knows:
- If you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- If you have gallbladder problems.
- If you have a problem with your kidneys, particularly if it is a blockage of the artery which supplies blood to your kidneys (a condition called renal artery stenosis).
- If you have any problems with your heart valves or heart muscle.
- If you have a problem with the way your liver works.
- If you are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, as well as herbal and complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine, or if you have had any other type of allergic reaction.
How to take olmesartan
- Before you start the treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. It will give you more information about olmesartan and will provide you with a full list of the side-effects which you could experience from taking it.
- Take olmesartan exactly as your doctor tells you to. It is usual to take one tablet each day. There are several different strengths of tablet available (10 mg, 20 mg and 40 mg). When you first start treatment your doctor may gradually increase the strength of the tablets to suit your condition. Each time you collect a fresh supply, it's a good idea to check the strength on the packet to make sure they are what you are expecting.
- Try to take olmesartan at the same time of day each day. For most people this will be in the morning. Taking your doses at the same time each day will help you to remember to take olmesartan regularly.
- Swallow the tablet with a drink of water. You can take olmesartan either before or after a meal.
- If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If you do not remember until the following day, miss out the forgotten dose. Do not take two doses at the same time to make up for a forgotten dose.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Try to keep your regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your progress can be monitored. Your doctor may want you to have some blood tests from time to time to check on your kidneys, and also how much potassium is in your blood. This is particularly the case when you first start taking olmesartan or if your dose needs increasing.
- If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are suitable to take with olmesartan. This is because some anti-inflammatory painkillers (such as aspirin and ibuprofen) can interfere with the way it works, and also may increase the risk of side-effects.
- It is very important that you follow any dietary and lifestyle advice that you have been given by your doctor, such as eating a healthy diet, not smoking, and taking regular exercise.
- If you drink alcohol, ask your doctor for advice. Your doctor may recommend that you do not drink alcohol while you are on olmesartan because it will increase the risk of side-effects, such as feeling dizzy or faint.
- Try to avoid salt substitutes which contain potassium. This is because the substitutes will increase the amount of potassium in your blood and this can cause problems.
- If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment that you are taking olmesartan. This is because your blood pressure may drop too low if you are given some anaesthetics.
- Unless you experience an adverse effect, treatment with olmesartan is usually long-term. It's possible that your doctor may advise that you skip a few doses if you have a tummy bug or some other acute illness, but otherwise, please continue to take the tablets regularly.
If you are also taking hydrochlorothiazide in combination with this medicine
- Studies have suggested that taking higher doses of hydrochlorothiazide for long periods of time may increase the risk of certain skin cancers.
- Tell your doctor if you have ever been treated for skin cancer before.
- Tell your doctor about any new or changed moles or worrying marks on your skin.
- Use a sunscreen in strong sunlight. Do not use sunbeds.
Can olmesartan cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the most common ones associated with olmesartan. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with your medicine. The unwanted effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome
|Common olmesartan side-effects (these affect fewer than 1 in 10 people)||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Feeling dizzy and light-headed when you stand up (due to low blood pressure)||Getting up and moving more slowly should help. If you begin to feel dizzy, sit for a few minutes before you stand up again|
|Feeling sick (nausea), tummy (abdominal) pain, indigestion||Stick to simple foods - avoid rich or spicy meals|
|Diarrhoea||Drink plenty of water to replace lost fluids|
|Cough and flu-like symptoms, aches and pains, urine infections, feeling tired||If any of these become troublesome, discuss them with your doctor|
|Changes to the results of some blood tests||You will have blood tests from time to time to check for these|
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to the tablets, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for further advice.
How to store olmesartan
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital at once. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.
Further reading and references
Manufacturer's PIL, Olmetec® 10 mg, 20 mg and 40 mg film-coated tablets; Daiichi Sankyo UK Limited, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated September 2020.
Medicines Complete BNF 84th Edition; British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London