Losartan is often sold under the brand name of cozaar. This medication is taken orally and is a part of a group of drugs known as angiotensin receptor blockers. Angiotensin is normally found in the blood stream. It may attach to muscle cells and force them to contract. This chemical may also cause blood vessels to constrict which leads to high blood pressure. Losartan stops this from happening by blocking receptors for angiotensin. By doing this, cells in the muscle cannot absorb angiotensin and the individual’s blood pressure is lowered.
Losartan was first approved by the FSA in 1995. Since then, it has been marketed in 25, 50 and 100 milligram doses to individuals with hypertension. It can reduce the chances of a stroke and treats hypertension. It has also been shown to be effective for patients with type 2 diabetes.
Patients who have heart problems should talk with their doctor before using losartan. This medication can increase the amounts of potassium in the blood and lead to cardiac arrhythmias. Individuals who are taking potassium supplements should also avoid using losartan because it can lead to dangerously high levels of serum potassium.
This medication should not be combined with and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, diuretics or other ARBs. Individuals who are elderly or dehydrated could end up developing kidney disorders or kidney failure. This medication is not recommended for pregnant or nursing women. Use of losartan in the second and third trimester of pregnancy could cause the fetus to die or be born severely disabled. Since the side effects of losartan in infants are not known, women who are nursing should avoid using this medication.
Losartan Side Effects
Clinical studies of losartan show that a heightened risk of insomnia, persistent cough, angioedema and muscle cramps. Some patients may experience side effects like dizziness, nasal congestion, increased levels of potassium, kidney problems, diarrhea or lightheadedness. Anyone who feels dizzy or lightheaded should remember to stand up slowly from any sitting position. Serious side effects included irregular heartbeat, fainting or a change in the amount of urine passed each day. Patients who experience serious side effects should immediately contact their doctor or emergency health care professional.
The overall side effects of losartan include:
- Increase in serum potassium
- Painful urination
- Increase or decrease in the amount of urine
- Chest pain
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Muscle cramps
- Kidney problems
- Mental confusion
- Changes in mood
- Drastic change in weight
- Pale skin
- Difficulty breathing
- Loss of appetite
- Cold or flu symptoms
Certain individuals may be allergic to losartan. In cases of an allergic reaction, patients may experience problems breathing, dizziness, swelling, rashes or itching. If you think you might be experiencing an allergic reaction, you should immediately contact your doctor.
You should tell your doctor about any medications, over-the-counter drugs or herbal supplements that you are on. Certain chemicals can reduce the efficacy of losartan or cause severe side effects. To prevent this from happening, always disclose any medications you are on and your entire medical history to your physician.
Rare Side Effects of Losartan
One rare side effect of losartan occurs in a small number of patients. The medicine can cause skeletal muscle tissue to breakdown. Over time, this can cause the kidneys to fail. Signs of this happening include muscle pain, dark urine, fever, weakness or nausea. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should contact your doctor right away.
Patients should avoid alcohol while using losartan. If individuals experience any symptoms, they should always contact their doctor for further treatment. Although these are the majority of side effects associated with losartan, there could be others. Each person’s body reacts differently to medication and may experience negative side effects in a unique manner. Always talk to your doctor about any of your medical concerns.