Meds and you

Updated 11 February 2013


Candesartan is often prescribed to relax and widen blood vessels in persons with high blood pressure.


Candesartan is the active ingredient of Atacand.

Candesartan is also one of multiple active ingredients found in Atacand Plus (Candesartan + and Hydrochlorothiazide).

General Information

Candesartan is often prescribed to relax and widen blood vessels in persons with high blood pressure. As a result blood pressure is lowered and the heart's workload reduced.

It is of particular use when patients are taking drugs such as enalapril, captopril and related products (ACE inhibitors), which cause a dry and irritating cough. While still providing the same benefit, candesartan reduces the likelihood of coughing.

Candesartan may be used on its own or in combination with other medication for high blood pressure.

The first few doses of this drug may cause dizziness if you get up suddenly from sitting or lying down. It is advisable to get up carefully until you know how this drug affects you.

Candesartan should not be used if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Adequate contraception is advised in women of childbearing age.

How does candesartan work?

Candesartan blocks the effect of Angiotensin II, a naturally occurring substance that narrows blood vessels. As a result blood vessels widen and high blood pressure is reduced.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: Schedule 3

Available as: Candesartan is available as tablets.

What does it do? Candesartan lowers blood pressure and reduces the workload on the heart.

Overdose risk: Medium

Dependence risk: Low

Is candesartan available as a generic? No

Is candesartan available on prescription only? Yes

User information

Onset of effect: Maximum effect is reached within 6 weeks.

Duration of action: Up to 24 hours

Dietary advice: This medication can be taken with or without food.

Stopping this medicine: Do not discontinue this drug without speaking to your doctor first. Premature stoppage may allow return or even worsen symptoms of condition being treated.

Prolonged use: No problems are expected with prolonged use. Your doctor may keep an eye on blood potassium levels.

Special precautions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if:

  • If you have liver or kidney disease
  • If you have congestive heart failure
  • You have a narrowing to the arteries of the kidneys
  • You are allergic to ANY medicine
  • You are taking other medication

Pregnancy: Avoid. Potential risk to the foetus has been reported. Consult your doctor before use, or if you are planning to fall pregnant

Breastfeeding: Avoid. This medication is passed through breast milk and may affect your baby adversely. Consult your doctor before use.

Porphyria: Avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect your condition. Consult your doctor before use.

Infants and children: This medication is not intended for use in children.

Elderly: Caution is advised in the elderly as a reduced dose may be needed in those patients above the age of 75.

Driving and hazardous work: This medication should be avoided as it may cause extreme sedation.

Alcohol: Avoid concomitant use of alcohol with this medication.

Possible side effects:

Side effect


Consult your doctor



Only if severe

In all cases






Diarrhoea/ constipation






Skin rash/ itch






Tiredness/Feeling unwell




Drug interactions:

Anaesthetic drugs

May lower blood pressure further


May cause potassium toxicity


May lower blood pressure further


Increased risk of lithium toxicity

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

May reduce effect of candesartan

Potassium supplements

May cause potassium toxicity


May reduce effect of candesartan

Overdose action

A small overdose is no cause for concern. In case of intentional large overdose, seek emergency medical attention. Symptoms may include dizziness and fainting.

Recommended dosage

Adults: 8-16 mg once daily


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