There’s a lot of different types of drugs that doctors prescribe to reduce blood pressure.
The drug I’m going to talk about in this video is called losartan.
I’m going to talk about how losartan works, its side effects, dosages, interactions, and just tackle some frequently asked questions about it.
What is Losartan?
Losartan is a medication most commonly manufactured by the brand Cozaar.
It’s a low-cost generic drug that’s often prescribed as a replacement option for other blood pressure medicines.
So, if you’ve already been taking a pill every day for hypertension and it’s not been working, your doctor is likely to switch you to losartan.
Although its main job is to lower high blood pressure, losartan has other uses as well.
If you’re diabetic and deal with high blood pressure, losartan might be the right drug for you.
This is because it protects your kidneys from damage caused due to high blood sugar.
How Does Losartan Work?
One way to lower blood pressure is to block the angiotensin II receptor.
Angiotensin blockers are also called ARB, which is an acronym for angiotensin receptor blocker.
Angiotensin II is a hormone in your body that narrows your blood vessels, which increases your blood pressure.
Angiotensin II also stimulates salt and water retention in the body, which further increases blood pressure.
So by blocking angiotensin II, it stops your blood vessels from narrowing and allows your blood vessels to relax causing your blood to flow more freely through your arteries.
And that’s what losartan does.
It blocks the receptors of angiotensin II.
That’s why doctors prescribe it to people who are suffering from high blood pressure.
Here’s a few facts about losartan.
Although losartan is safe for most adults, in some cases, it’s not.
What is Losartan Not Good For?
For example, it protects the kidneys from the negative effects of diabetes, but for those with different kinds of kidney problems, it can worsen the condition.
Losartan isn’t safe for pregnant women, either.
It’s actually been known to cause birth defects.
Breastfeeding women should avoid this drug, too.
It’s also not a suitable drug for children below 6 years old.
Why Do Some Doctors Choose Losartan Over Other Drugs?
One of the most common reasons your doctor might have you switch to losartan, is that it has lower side effects than other high blood pressure drugs.
If you’ve been on drugs such as lisinopril, you may have experienced dry cough and swelling.
That’s why a lot of doctors will take their patient off of lisinopril and put them on losartan.
Plus, it has added benefits of protecting the kidneys and the heart.
What are Losartan’s Side Effects?
Although the common side effects are manageable and usually go away as your body starts getting used to the medicine.
In some people the side effects include dizziness, nausea, headache, diarrhea, and joint pain.
Sometimes, the drug increases potassium levels in the blood that eventually harms your heart.
Losartan can also cause some serious side effects in rare cases.
If you notice yellowing of the skin, breathing difficulties, severe weakness, abdominal pain, skin rash, or swelling, talk to your doctor immediately.
What are the Dosages You Can Expect to Take on Losartan?
Usually, doctors prescribe a 50mg or a 100mg tablet of losartan to be taken once per day to control your high blood pressure.
Whatever dosage your doctor prescribes, stick with that dosage.
If you slip up and forget to take your pill that day, don’t worry.
Just take it as soon as you remember.
Just make sure there’s a sufficient time gap between the dose you’re taking now and your usual time of the next dose.
Whenever I mess up and forget to take my kidney transplant drugs, if it’s not close to the next time I’m supposed to take them, I’ll go ahead and take them.
But if it’s close to the time I’m supposed to take them, I just wait until that time.
How Long Does It Take to See Results from Losartan?
You’ll probably start seeing improvements in 3 weeks or less.
But sometimes, it could take longer.
If it’s been 6 weeks and you don’t feel any different, talk to your doctor.
In that case, that type of blood pressure medication might not be right for you.
Your doctor will decide that.
Be sure to measure your blood pressure before you go asking for a change of medicine, though.
Going just by the physical symptoms doesn’t always work.
Do You Have to Take Losartan the Rest of Your Life?
The answer to that is, most likely yes.
You could change your lifestyle habits to be more healthy and that could definitely lower your blood pressure.
But unless your doctor decides to change your medication, you stay on it.
By the way, if you DO end up making some lifestyle decisions and you become a lot healthier, there’s a good chance your doctor will take you off your meds.
Okay, let’s answer a few common questions about losartan.
Is Losartan Safe for Your Kidneys?
Losartan is generally safe for those with no kidney diseases.
It also does a good job of preventing kidney failure for people with diabetes.
However, if you have a history of other kidney-related diseases, losartan can make it worse.
Your doctor will periodically check your kidney function while you’re on losartan to make sure everything looks okay.
How Do You Take Losartan?
It’s as simple as taking a pill every day with a glass of water.
You can take it either with or without food.
But the important thing is to take the pill at the same time every day.
Recent research advises to take your blood pressure meds in the evening before you go to bed.
The research says, when you do that, you have less risk of illness or death due to heart and blood vessel disease.
But don’t take that as blanket advice.
Always take your meds at the time your doctor tells you to.
What happens if you forget to take your meds?
That happens to me every now and then.
If it happens to you, get a pill organizer or a pill reminder app.
Missing a dosage once in a blue moon probably isn’t going to cause any serious issue.
But if it happens regularly, then you do have a problem, because that can have serious consequences for your health.
Are there Any Foods or Drinks that You Should Avoid While Taking Losartan?
And the answer is, there’s no restrictions when it comes to food.
But, a word of caution on low-sodium salt.
Low-sodium salt typically has a high amount of potassium.
And losartan tends to increase potassium levels in your blood, so it’s not a good idea to add more potassium to your diet.
When it comes to drinks, alcohol may interact with the effects of this medicine.
It’s best to lower your alcohol intake or completely avoid it.
Losartan doesn’t interact with any food and doesn’t affect your digestion in any way.
Well, except for diarrhea as a mild side effect in some people.
And again, that should go away once your body adjusts to the medication.
So, it’s safe to take your pill any time of the day, whether on an empty stomach or a full one.
Do Other Drugs or Pain Relievers Interact with Losartan?
It’s best to list out all your medicines before the doctor prescribes losartan.
It could interfere with other blood pressure drugs and drugs like diuretics, mental health drugs, most painkillers, and blood thinners.
So your doctor should absolutely know what other drugs you’re taking.
If you think you have to take a painkiller, stick to Tylenol and aspirin in lower doses.
If you’re taking losartan, do not take painkillers such as ibuprofen, diclofenac, and naproxen.
A lot of people confuse losartan with losartan potassium-hydrochlorothiazide.
And they often wonder whether losartan can make you urinate frequently.
Well, pure losartan, which is made by Cozaar, has no diuretic effect.
But, losartan Potassium-hydrochlorothiazide, made by Hyzaar, has a diuretic and can make you urinate more frequently.
What Is the Difference Between Losartan and Lisinopril?
They’re similar because they both strive to lower the levels of angiotensin II in your body.
But the way they work is completely different.
While lisinopril blocks the production of angiotensin II, losartan prevents angiotensin II from binding to its receptors.
The result is the same.
They both lower your blood pressure.
Less angiotensin II in your body causes the relaxation of blood vessels, which lowers your blood pressure.
To sum up the pros and cons of losartan, it’s great compared to some of the other blood pressure medications because of it’s low amount of side effects.
It also protects your kidneys.
But the downside of taking losartan is that it can harm your kidney if you have a kidney-related ailment, that is not from diabetes.
Losartan can also raise potassium levels in your body.
So when you’re taking losartan, make sure you follow the guidance of your doctor and keep them posted if your blood pressure hasn’t improved in a month.
Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of the severe side effects.
If you’re pregnant, let them know so they can switch your medication.
And lastly, continue to take your pills even if you feel alright.
Unless your doctor tells you to quit, please continue to be faithful in taking your meds.
Well, I hope this article has answered a few of your questions about losartan.
It’s a great alternative to other blood pressure medications.
Just make sure you follow all your doctor’s orders when taking it.