Eprosartan is a type of drug called a sartan that works by stopping the angiotensin II hormone from activating a receptor in the body that normally leads to a slight increase in blood pressure. When you take eprosartan, the hormone can’t work as usual and your blood pressure gets lower, which is useful in the treatment of hypertension.
How does it help to lower the blood pressure? Let’s get into the details.
Brand Names and Doses
Eprosartan is the genic name, the name of the active drug found in the medication, but you might know it by the brand name: Teveten.
There are two different doses available: 400 mg and 600 mg. If you’re just starting to take eprosartan, you will probably start on the lower dose of 400 mg, to reduce the risk of side effects as your body gets used to the new medication. You can then increase the dose to 600 mg if needed, to help control high blood pressure.
Eprosartan is also available in a combination medication with another drug, hydrochlorothiazide. The brand name for this combination is Teveten Plus and the dose is 600mg of eprosartan with 12.5 mg of hydrochlorothiazide.
What type of drug is it?
Eprosartan is classed as a sartan, which is a group of drugs that work in a similar way. Sometimes sartans are also known by other names, such as angiotensin receptor blockers (ARB) or angiotensin receptor antagonists (ARA).
Other medicines in the same class are:
How does it work?
Eprosartan and other drugs in the sartan drug class work by stopping a hormone called the angiotensin II from attaching to a receptor and having certain effects in the body.
In a healthy person, angiotensin II is important in keeping the balance of blood pressure just right. If the blood pressure gets too low, the body releases more angiotensin II and, when it activates the receptor, a few things happen to increase the pressure again. The muscles around the blood vessels contract to make the passageway narrower and the kidneys reabsorb more water to increase the amount of blood in the body. With more blood travelling through narrower passageways, it’s clear that the blood pressure is going to increase.
When you take eprosartan, angiotensin II can’t activate the receptor to make these effects happen as well as usual. As a result, the opposite happens:
- The muscles around your blood vessels relax, creating more space for the blood passing through.
- You have less blood in your body because your kidneys reabsorb less water and you excrete more in your urine.
Less blood pumping around blood vessels that are larger than usual means the pressure will be lower. If you think of it like a plumbing system, your cardiovascular system is under less stress, which is a great help for your heart.
Sartans affect the body in various way and there are several side effects that may occur when you take eprosartan. It’s always best to read the medicine information leaflet for the complete list, but the most important effects are:
Low blood pressure (hypotension)
The most common side effects happen when eprosartan is working too well and you end up with low blood pressure, with symptoms of:
This is common when you first start taking eprosartan or after the dose has been increased. These symptoms usually get better after a few days, as your body gets used to the medication. If you still notice the effects after more than a week, your blood pressure might be too low because you’re taking a higher dose than you need. You can check your blood pressure to find out at a pharmacy and ask your doctor about if you need to lower the dose.
Excess Potassium (Hyperkalaemia)
Eprosartan works by causing more water to be excreted in the urine than usual, which can upset the balance of potassium in your blood. Less potassium is excreted and it can build up and causing symptoms of tiredness and muscle weakness.
You can check if you have high potassium levels with a simple blood test, so talk to your doctor if you think you might have hyperkalemia.
Rarely some people also get a dry cough when they take eprosartan, which can be quite frustrating. If this affects you, you can talk to your doctor about alternative medication options.
There are a couple of things you should be aware of before you start taking eprosartan, as they can have serious consequences for some people.
It is possible for eprosartan to cause a swelling of your mouth and face, which can be particularly dangerous if the airways become blocked. If you notice this, you should seek medical help immediately.
Eprosartan changes the function of the kidney and can increase the risk of renal impairment, particularly when used with other medications such as NSAIDS and diuretics. If you have poor kidney function, it is not likely to be the best choice of drug for you.
Eprosartan is a long-term solution that is meant to be taken every day. If you stop taking it suddenly, you might get rebound hypertension because your body has adapted to taking the drug each day. Instead, you should gradually reduce the dose over a few weeks.
Lithium + Eprosartan Interaction
Trandolapril can decrease the amount of lithium that is excreted from the body and increase risk of side effects. The dose of lithium can be reduced to help manage this, or a different antihypertensive medication can be used.
Loop Diuretic +Eprosartan Interaction
Taking a loop diuretic drug with eprosartan can increase the risk of renal impairment and blood pressure that is too low, particularly for the first few doses. It is best to take a lower dose or to stop taking the loop diuretic for a few days when beginning eprosartan.
NSAID + Eprosartan Interaction
NSAIDs and eprosartan can sometimes be used together in young and otherwise healthy patients, but it might not work as well to reduce your blood pressure and can lead to renal impairment.
Thiazide Diuretic + Eprosartan Interaction
Taking a thiazide diuretic and eprosartan together increases the risk of renal impairment and blood pressure that is too low, particularly for the first few doses. Using a lower dose is okay for some people but the combination is not recommended for others – you should talk to your doctor if you’re worried.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Eprosartan should not be used by women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant because they can cause birth defects early in the pregnancy and may cause renal dysfunction of the fetus later in the pregnancy.
It is not recommended to take eprosartan while breastfeeding because there is limited research data available and we don’t know if it is safe.