Avapro (Irbesartan)


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Active ingredient: Irbesartan

Dosages: 150mg, 300mg

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What is Avapro (Irbesartan)?

Avapro, also known by its generic name Irbesartan, is a medication used primarily to manage high blood pressure, which is also called hypertension. It belongs to a group of drugs known as angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs). These drugs help by relaxing blood vessels, which makes it easier for your heart to pump blood around your body and thus lowers blood pressure.

Taking this drug can help prevent serious complications that high blood pressure can cause, like strokes and heart attacks. Doctors might also prescribe it to help treat kidney problems in people who have type 2 diabetes.

It’s taken orally, usually once a day, and you can take it with or without food. Like all medications, this medicine might cause side effects in some people, but many people who use it do not experience serious side effects. It’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions when taking this medication to ensure it’s as effective and safe as possible.

What is Avapro used for?

Avapro, also known as Irbesartan, is primarily used to treat high blood pressure, which is when the force of your blood against the walls of your blood vessels is too strong. Managing high blood pressure is important because it can help prevent heart problems, strokes, and kidney issues.

Besides treating high blood pressure, it is also used to help protect the kidneys from damage in people who have diabetes. This is particularly useful for those with type 2 diabetes, who are at higher risk of developing kidney problems due to their condition.

In simple terms, this medication helps keep your blood vessels relaxed and open, making it easier for your heart to pump blood and maintain a healthy blood pressure level. This not only helps in lowering the risk of serious health problems but also aids in improving overall cardiovascular health.

Is Avapro a beta blocker or ACE inhibitor?

Avapro is neither a beta blocker nor an ACE inhibitor. It belongs to a different group of medications called angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs).

Here’s a quick way to understand the difference:

  1. Beta blockers: These drugs work by slowing down your heart rate and reducing the force of your heartbeat, which helps lower blood pressure. They are often used to treat heart conditions and high blood pressure.
  2. ACE inhibitors: These medications help relax blood vessels by preventing the body from producing a chemical that narrows blood vessels. They are commonly used to treat high blood pressure and heart issues.
  3. Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) like Avapro: These also help relax blood vessels, but they do so by blocking a specific substance in the body that causes blood vessels to tighten. This makes it easier for the heart to pump blood and helps lower blood pressure.

Should I take Irbesartan at night or in the morning?

When to take Irbesartan, also known as Avapro, can depend on a few factors, including your daily routine and how you respond to the medication. Generally, Irbesartan can be taken either in the morning or at night, but it’s important to choose a time that you can consistently stick to every day.

Some people prefer taking it in the morning as part of their morning routine, which helps them remember to take it regularly. Others might find that taking it at night works better, especially if they notice it makes them feel a bit tired.

What is the side effect of Avapro?

Avapro, or Irbesartan, like any medication, can cause side effects, though not everyone experiences them. Here are some of the common and less common side effects you might notice while taking this drug:

Common Side Effects:

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness: This can happen especially when you stand up quickly from a sitting or lying position. It’s usually mild and goes away as your body adjusts to the medication.
  • Fatigue: You might feel unusually tired when starting the treatment or changing doses.

Less Common Side Effects:

  • Digestive issues: Some people may experience stomach pain, nausea, or diarrhea.
  • Heartbeat changes: You might notice your heart feels like it’s beating too fast or irregularly.
  • Swelling: Some people may notice swelling, particularly in the legs or ankles.

Rare and Serious Side Effects:

  • Kidney problems: Changes in how much you urinate or swelling in the feet and ankles can be signs of kidney issues.
  • Allergic reactions: Symptoms like rash, itching, swelling of the face or throat, severe dizziness, or trouble breathing require immediate medical attention.

What should you not take with Avapro?

When taking Avapro (Irbesartan), there are certain things you should avoid because they can interfere with how well the medication works or increase the risk of side effects:

  1. Potassium Supplements and Salt Substitutes: The described drug can increase potassium levels in your blood. Taking additional potassium, whether through supplements or potassium-rich salt substitutes, can lead to excessively high potassium levels, which can be dangerous.
  2. Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs): Medications like ibuprofen and naproxen, often used for pain relief, can reduce its effectiveness and increase the risk of kidney problems.
  3. Alcohol: Drinking alcohol can increase the blood pressure-lowering effect of this drug, which might lead to dizziness or fainting.
  4. Lithium: If you’re taking lithium, a medication used for mental health disorders, combining it with the described drug can increase lithium’s levels in your blood and lead to unwanted side effects.

What are the contraindications for Avapro?

  • Allergy to Irbesartan: Avoid if you’ve previously had an allergic reaction to this medication.
  • Pregnancy: Not recommended, particularly in the later stages, as it can harm the unborn baby.
  • Severe Kidney Disease: Not suitable for individuals with severe kidney issues.
  • Aliskiren with Diabetes: Diabetic patients should not take this drug if they are also taking aliskiren.

Can you drink alcohol with Avapro?

It’s generally advised to be cautious with alcohol while taking Avapro (Irbesartan). Drinking alcohol can increase the blood pressure-lowering effects of the drug, which might lead to side effects like dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting, especially when standing up quickly from a sitting or lying position.

If you do choose to drink alcohol while on the drug, it’s a good idea to do so in moderation and observe how your body reacts. If you experience any severe or unusual symptoms, it’s important to speak with your doctor. They might recommend adjusting your dosage or advise on other ways to minimize the risks.

What foods should I avoid when taking Irbesartan?

When taking Irbesartan (Avapro), consider these dietary guidelines:

  1. High Potassium Foods: Moderation is key, as Irbesartan can increase potassium levels. This includes foods like bananas, spinach, and potatoes.
  2. Salt Substitutes: Avoid these if they’re high in potassium.

Where to get more info about the drug?

Get more details about the drug here.

Disclaimer: This document does not cover all information about this medication and should not be used as a substitute for the medication guide, a consultation with a pharmacist, or advice from your healthcare provider. For the full medication guide, more detailed information, or any further questions, please contact your pharmacist or healthcare provider directly. It is essential to follow their advice and the official medication guide to ensure the medication is used safely and effectively. Always talk to your healthcare provider before making any changes to your medication regimen and report any unexpected side effects or concerns immediately. Your pharmacist and healthcare provider are the best resources for information and support regarding your health and medications.

By Benjamin A. Clark, MD, PhD
Medically Reviewed by Steven Sherman
Last Update: June 30, 2024