The most common error people make with their medicines is taking – or giving – a double dose. Or, someone gets distracted and takes a prescription medicine once – and then again. For some medicines, an extra dose can cause problems. For example, too much blood pressure medicine could make you light-headed. Too much diabetes medicine can cause low blood sugar. And, you could run out of medicine too soon.
Studies have demonstrated a high occurrence of antihypertensive medication errors and a strong association between medication errors and inadequate blood pressure control. Even among those taking their medication correctly, There is a 20% chance that taking the medication could be worsening their blood pressure levels.
What is Losartan?
Losartan, sold under the trade name Cozaar among others, is a medication mainly used to treat high blood pressure. It is also used for diabetic kidney disease, heart failure, and left ventricular enlargement. It is taken by mouth. It may be used alone or in addition to other blood pressure medication.
How losartan works
Losartan belongs to a class of drugs called angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs). Losartan works by blocking the action of angiotensin II, a chemical in your body that causes your blood vessels to tighten and narrow. Losartan helps relax and widen your blood vessels. This lowers your blood pressure.
This action helps treat high blood pressure as well as the other two conditions losartan is usually prescribed for. High blood pressure and left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) increase your risk of stroke, so lower blood pressure reduces your risk. Lower blood pressure also reduces your risk of kidney damage. This is because high blood pressure raises your risk of kidney damage that’s caused by the high blood sugar levels linked with diabetes.
How should I take losartan?
Take losartan exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. The recommended dosage of losartan is as follows:
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years): The typical starting dosage is 50 mg once daily. Dosages range between 25 and 100 mg per day. You take losartan once or twice per day.
Child dosage (ages 6–17 years): The dosage is based on your child’s weight. The usual dosage is around 0.7 mg/kg of body weight taken once per day. Your child’s doctor will increase or decrease the dosage depending on your child’s response to the medication.
Child dosage (ages 0–5 years): This drug should not be used in children younger than 6 years.
Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older): There are no specific recommendations for senior dosage. Seniors may process drugs more slowly. As a result, a normal adult dosage may cause levels of this drug to be higher than normal in your body. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dosage or a different dosing schedule.
You may take losartan with or without food. Call your doctor if you have ongoing vomiting or diarrhea, or if you are sweating more than usual. You can easily become dehydrated while taking this medication, which can lead to severely low blood pressure or a serious electrolyte imbalance.
Your blood pressure will need to be checked often. Visit your doctor regularly.
It may take 3 to 6 weeks of using losartan before your blood pressure goes down somewhat. For best results, keep using the medication as directed. Talk with your doctor if your symptoms do not improve after 3 weeks of treatment.
If you are being treated for high blood pressure, keep using this medication even if you feel well. High blood pressure often has no symptoms. You may need to use blood pressure medication for the rest of your life.
What to do if you accidentally took a double dose of Losartan
If you take more Losartan tablets than you should or you accidentally take too many tablets, or a child swallows some, contact your doctor immediately. Losartan double dose side effects are the same as normal dose but symptoms of overdose are low blood pressure, increased heartbeat, and possibly decreased heartbeat. If you forget to take Losartan tablets or you accidentally miss a daily dose, just take the next dose as normal. Do not take a double dose to make up for a forgotten tablet.
The typical dose for losartan (Cozaar) is 50 mg by mouth once daily, if you accidentally took two losartan 25mg, it’s unlikely to cause many problems. However, if a lower dose has been prescribed for you by your doctor, contact your health care provider as soon as possible.
Accidentally taking double-dose losartan can also complicate kidney problems, especially among those with existing kidney conditions. The drug can affect how well the kidney works. Losartan tablets should be swallowed with a glass of water. You should try to take your daily dose at about the same time each day. It is important that you continue to take Losartan tablets until your doctor tells you otherwise.
How long does it take for losartan to get out of your system?
After a losartan dose, the body converts it to an active metabolite. The metabolite provides much of losartan’s blood pressure lowering effects. The losartan half-life is about 2 hours and the metabolite half-life is 6 to 9 hours. This means it can take a couple of days to clear losartan and its metabolite from your system.
What is the most important information I should know about Losartan?
You should not use losartan if you are allergic to it.
If you have diabetes, do not use losartan together with any medication that contains aliskiren (a blood pressure medicine).
You may also need to avoid taking losartan with aliskiren if you have kidney disease.
Do not use it if you are pregnant, and tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant. Losartan can cause injury or death to the unborn baby if you take the medicine during your second or third trimester.
Tell your doctor if you have ever had:
- kidney disease;
- liver disease;
- congestive heart failure;
- an electrolyte imbalance (such as high levels of potassium in your blood);
- if you are on a low-salt diet; or
- if you are dehydrated.
You should not breastfeed while using this medicine.
Losartan is not approved for use by anyone younger than 6 years old.
What are the side effects of Losartan?
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
- a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;
- pain or burning when you urinate;
- high potassium level–nausea, weakness, tingly feeling, chest pain, irregular heartbeats, loss of movement; or
- kidney problems–little or no urination, rapid weight gain, painful or difficult urination, swelling in your hands, feet, or ankles.
Common side effects may include:
- back pain; or
- cold symptoms such as stuffy nose, sneezing, and sore throat.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur.
What drugs can interact with losartan?
Some products that may interact with losartan include aliskiren, lithium, drugs that may increase the level of potassium in the blood (such as ACE inhibitors including benazepril, lisinopril, and birth control pills containing drospirenone).
Some products have ingredients that could raise your blood pressure or worsen your heart failure. Tell your pharmacist what products you are using, and ask how to use them safely (especially cough-and-cold products, diet aids, or NSAIDs such as ibuprofen or naproxen).