How Does Candesartan Work?

Candesartan is part of a class of drugs called angiotensin II receptor blockers. As the name implies, these drugs block angiotensin II receptors. This decreases the effectiveness of a chemical known as angiotensin II, which normally causes blood vessels to narrow (constrict). By blocking the effects of angiotensin II, candesartan causes blood vessels to relax, which can lower blood pressure.
By helping blood vessels relax, candesartan also increases the efficiency of the heart. This means that the heart does not have to work as hard and more blood can be pumped out to the rest of the body. Both of these effects are helpful for a person with congestive heart failure.

Effects of the Medication

A blood pressure reading consists of two numbers -- for example: 120/80. The top number is known as the systolic blood pressure, and the bottom number is the diastolic blood pressure. During clinical studies of people taking candesartan, systolic blood pressure (the top number) decreased by 8 to 12 mmHg on average and diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) decreased by 4 to 8 mmHg on average. Certain factors, such as age, ethnicity, and dose, affected how much the blood pressure dropped.
By lowering blood pressure, candesartan can decrease the risks associated with long-term high blood pressure (see Effects of High Blood Pressure).
For people with congestive heart failure, the effects of this drug on the heart and blood vessels have been shown to decrease hospitalizations and loss of life.

When and How Do I Take Candesartan?

Some general considerations for when and how to take this medication include:
  • Candesartan comes in tablet form. It is usually taken once or twice a day.
  • It may be taken with or without food.
  • Candesartan should be taken at the same time each day to maintain an even level of the medication in your blood.
  • For the medicine to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed. It will not work if you stop taking it.
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