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African American Health

Taking of Blood Pressure Medications

08/25/2003

Question:

I am taking 80mg (two 40mg pills)of BENICAR a day for my high blood pressure. Does it matter if I split the taking of the pills one at 7am and the other at 7pm, or is it best to take both at the same time? Would the results be the same either way? I have been splliting the taking time of the pills for eight months and my BP does not improve. I am an American of Afro decent, 75 year old.

Answer:

Benicar is olmesartan, an angiotensin receptor blocker. This class of drugs is very safe and usually very well tolerated. Benicar is long acting and needs only be taken once a day. Taking it twice a day does not improve its efficacy. African Americans respond a little bit less to angiotensin receptor blockers than Caucasians do. On the other hand, African Americans usually respond well to diuretics. If your blood pressure is not well controlled, a small dose of a diuretic (such as hydrochlorothiazide) can be added. In fact, the combination of an angiotensin receptor blocker and a diuretic is particularly effective. The company that makes Benicar is planning to release a combination pill of Benicar and a diuretic within the coming months.

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Response by:

Max C Reif, MD Max C Reif, MD
Professor of Medicine
Director of Hypertension Section
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati