losartan

Generic Name: losartan (loe SAR tan)
Brand Names: Cozaar

What is the most important information I should know about losartan?

Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are pregnant. Losartan may cause injury and even death to the unborn baby if you take it during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. Use an effective form of birth control. Stop using this medication and tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant during treatment.

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to losartan.

Avoid drinking alcohol. It can lower your blood pressure and may increase some of the side effects of losartan.

Do not use potassium supplements or salt substitutes while you are taking losartan, unless your doctor has told you to.

To be sure this medication is helping your condition, your blood pressure will need to be checked on a regular basis. Do not miss any scheduled appointments.

Keep using this medication even if you feel fine. High blood pressure often has no symptoms.

In rare cases, losartan can cause a condition that results in the breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue, leading to kidney failure. Call your doctor right away if you have muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness especially if you also have fever, nausea or vomiting, and dark colored urine.


What is losartan?

Losartan is in a group of drugs called angiotensin II receptor antagonists. Losartan keeps blood vessels from narrowing, which lowers blood pressure and improves blood flow.

Losartan is used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension). It is also used to lower the risk of stroke in certain people with heart disease.

Losartan is used to slow long-term kidney damage in people with type 2 diabetes who also have high blood pressure.

Losartan may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.


What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking losartan?

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to losartan.

If you have any of these other conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely use this medication:

  • kidney disease;
  • liver disease;
  • congestive heart failure; or
  • an electrolyte imbalance (such as low levels of potassium in your blood); or
  • if you are dehydrated.

FDA pregnancy category D. Losartan may cause injury and even death to the unborn baby if you take it during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are pregnant. Use an effective form of birth control. Stop using this medication and tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant during treatment.

It is not known whether losartan passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.


How should I take losartan?

Take this medication exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not take the medication in larger amounts, or take it for longer than recommended by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results from this medication.

You may take losartan with or without food.

Call your doctor if you have ongoing vomiting or diarrhea, or if you are sweating more than usual. You can easily become dehydrated while taking this medication, which can lead to severely low blood pressure or a serious electrolyte imbalance.

To be sure this medication is helping your condition, your blood pressure will need to be checked on a regular basis. Do not miss any scheduled appointments.

It may take 3 to 6 weeks of using this medicine before your blood pressure is under control. For best results, keep using the medication as directed. Talk with your doctor if your symptoms do not improve after 3 weeks of treatment.

Keep using this medication even if you feel fine. High blood pressure often has no symptoms.

Store losartan at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.


What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take the medicine at the next regularly scheduled time. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.


What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine.

Overdose symptoms may include fast or slow heartbeat, dizziness, or feeling like you might pass out.


What should I avoid while taking losartan?

Avoid drinking alcohol. It can lower your blood pressure and may increase some of the side effects of losartan.

Do not use potassium supplements or salt substitutes while you are taking losartan, unless your doctor has told you to.

Avoid getting up too fast from a sitting or lying position, or you may feel dizzy. Get up slowly and steady yourself to prevent a fall.


What are the possible side effects of losartan?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

In rare cases, losartan can cause a condition that results in the breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue, leading to kidney failure. Call your doctor right away if you have muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness especially if you also have fever, nausea or vomiting, and dark colored urine.

Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • feeling like you might pass out;
  • painful or difficult urination;
  • chest pain;
  • numbness or tingly feeling;
  • pale skin, easy bruising or bleeding;
  • swelling in your hands or feet; or
  • slow heart rate, weak pulse, tingly feeling.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, cough;
  • muscle, leg, or back pain;
  • stomach pain, diarrhea;
  • headache, dizziness;
  • tired feeling; or
  • sleep problems (insomnia).

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.


What other drugs will affect losartan?

Before taking losartan, tell your doctor if you are using any of the following drugs:

  • a diuretic (water pill);
  • lithium (Eskalith, LithoBid, Lithonate);
  • celecoxib (Celebrex); or
  • aspirin or other NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), diclofenac (Cataflam, Voltaren), etodolac (Lodine), indomethacin (Indocin), nabumetone (Relafen), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), meloxicam (Mobic), piroxicam (Feldene), and others.

This list is not complete and there may be other drugs that can interact with losartan. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.


Where can I get more information?

Your pharmacist can provide more information about losartan.


Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

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