Benicar HCT Precautions and Warnings
Specific Benicar HCT Precautions and WarningsBenicar HCT warnings and precautions to be aware of include:
- There are several medicines that Benicar HCT can interact with (see Benicar HCT Interactions).
- Benicar HCT may cause extremely low blood pressure in some people. This is more likely to happen when the medicine is first started or the dosage is changed. It is also more likely to happen in people who are taking a diuretic, who are on dialysis, who have congestive heart failure, who have diarrhea or vomiting, or who have excessive sweating. This is why it is important to drink fluids regularly while taking Benicar HCT. If you have any possible symptoms of low blood pressure, such as dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting, contact your healthcare provider. If you have fainted, stop taking Benicar HCT until you have talked to your healthcare provider.
- Make sure not to drive, operate any heavy machinery, or perform any other tasks that require alertness before you know how Benicar HCT affects you.
- Benicar HCT is a pregnancy Category C medicine for the first trimester and a pregnancy Category D medicine for the second and third trimesters, meaning that the drug has health risks to your unborn child. Let your healthcare provider know if you are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant. If you become pregnant while taking Benicar HCT, contact your healthcare provider immediately (see Benicar HCT and Pregnancy).
- While taking Benicar HCT, do not use potassium supplements or salt substitutes with potassium, unless you have discussed this with your doctor. This is because in some people taking Benicar HCT, potassium in the blood can increase or decrease to dangerous levels.
- Reports of severe, chronic diarrhea with substantial weight loss have been reported in people taking olmesartan, one of the active ingredients in Benicar HCT. This side effect can occur months or even years after starting the drug. If you develop such problems, your healthcare provider should check for other problems first, but if no other cause for the diarrhea and weight loss is found, you might need to stop taking Benicar HCT.
- Benicar HCT may affect electrolytes in the blood (including sodium, potassium, magnesium, and chloride). Therefore, your healthcare provider will often regularly check these levels. If you notice any symptoms of a possible electrolyte imbalance, contact your healthcare provider. These symptoms may include a dry mouth, increased thirst, weakness, tiredness, restlessness, seizures, confusion, muscle pain or cramps, decrease in urine output, a weak or irregular heartbeat, nausea, or vomiting.
- Drugs that contain hydrochlorothiazide (including this medication) can sometimes cause a potentially dangerous eye reaction (a particularly dangerous type of glaucoma). This reaction usually occurs within days to weeks of starting the drug.
Because this reaction can permanently damage vision, let your healthcare provider know right away if you develop vision changes and/or eye pain. The main treatment for this reaction is to stop taking this medication, although other treatment (including surgery) may sometimes be necessary.
- Medicines like Benicar HCT have been known to cause a decrease in kidney function, especially in certain groups, such as those with severe congestive heart failure, elderly individuals, people taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or those with severe kidney disease. Let your healthcare provider know if you have symptoms such as a decrease in urine output, drowsiness, headache, or back pain. Your healthcare provider will also regularly check your kidney function with a blood test.
- Because of the hydrochlorothiazide, Benicar HCT is more likely than other drugs to cause allergic reactions. This is more common in people with a history of allergies or asthma. Make sure to discuss this risk with your healthcare provider. Also, seek emergency medical attention immediately if you notice things such as hives, an unexplained rash, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the face or throat.
- Because of the hydrochlorothiazide, Benicar HCT is more likely to make systemic lupus erythematosus worse or, in some cases, even cause the condition. It may also make gout worse.
- Benicar HCT may increase blood sugar levels (a condition called hyperglycemia) in diabetics or, in some cases, even cause diabetes in people without a history of the condition.
- Benicar HCT may increase levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood.
- If you are nursing, it is not known whether Benicar passes through your breast milk. However, hydrochlorothiazide does pass through breast milk. Therefore, if you are nursing, talk with your healthcare provider about whether you should stop taking Benicar HCT or stop breastfeeding.