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Pronounced: AV-a-lide
Generic name: Irbesartan, Hydrochlorothiazide

Why is this drug prescribed: Avalide is a combination medication used to treat high blood pressure. One component, irbesartan, belongs to a class of blood pressure medications that prevents the hormone angiotensin II from constricting the blood vessels, thereby allowing blood to flow more freely and keeping blood pressure down. The other component, hydrochlorothiazide, is a diuretic that increases the output of urine, removing excess fluid from the body and thus lowering blood pressure. Combinations such as Avalide are usually prescribed only when treatment with a single medication fails to lower blood pressure sufficiently. Avalide can be combined with yet other blood pressure medicines if your pressure remains too high.

Most important fact about this drug: If you have high blood pressure, you must take Avalide regularly for it to be effective. Since blood pressure declines gradually, it may be several weeks before you get the full benefit of Avalide and you must continue taking it even if you are feeling well. Avalide does not cure high blood pressure, it merely keeps it under control.

How should you take this medication: Avalide can be taken with or without food. --If you miss a dose... Take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and go back to your regular schedule. Never take 2 doses at the same time. --Storage instructions... Store Avalide at room temperature.

What side effects may occur: Avalide is unlikely to produce side effects, and if any do occur they are usually mild and temporary. Nevertheless, be sure to report all side effects to your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking Avalide. More common side effects may include: Dizziness, fatigue, influenza, muscle and bone pain, nausea, swelling due to water retention, vomiting Less common side effects may include: Abdominal pain, abnormal urination, allergy, anxiety, chest pain, cough, diarrhea, dizziness when standing up, headache, hives, indigestion and heartburn, jaundice (yellow skin or eyes), muscle cramps, nervousness, rapid heartbeat, rash, runny nose, sinus abnormality, sore throat, swelling in the mouth or face, upper respiratory infection, urinary tract infection

Why should this drug not be prescribed: If Avalide gives you an allergic reaction, you'll be unable to use it. You should also avoid it if you have an allergy to sulfa drugs, and if you're unable to urinate.

Special warnings about this medication: Avalide can cause low blood pressure, especially if your body is short of fluid. This can happen due to excessive sweating, inadequate fluid intake, diarrhea, or vomiting, as well as dialysis or use of another diuretic. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids, and call your doctor if your mouth becomes dry, you feel weak or tired or sluggish, you are unusually thirsty, you feel restless or confused, you ache all over, you find you are urinating less frequently, your heart starts beating faster, or you become nauseous If your blood pressure drops excessively, you may feel light-headed or faint, especially during the first few days of therapy. If these symptoms occur, contact your doctor. Your dosage may need adjustment. If you actually faint, stop taking the medication until you have talked with your doctor. If you have liver or kidney disease, diabetes, gout, or lupus erythematosus, use Avalide with caution. This drug may bring out hidden diabetes. If you are already taking insulin or oral diabetes drugs, your dosage may have to be adjusted. If you have bronchial asthma or a history of allergies, you may be at greater risk for an allergic reaction to this medication. This drug has not been tested in children.

Possible food and drug interactions when taking this medication: Alcohol may increase the effects of Avalide. Use it with caution. If Avalide is taken with certain other drugs the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Avalide with the following: Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) Barbiturates such as phenobarbital and Seconal Cholestyramine (Questran) Colestipol (Colestid) Insulin Lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid) Narcotic painkillers such as Demerol, Tylenol with Codeine, and Percocet Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Aleve, Anaprox, and Motrin Other blood pressure medications such as Procardia XL and Tenormin Oral diabetes drugs such as Diabinese, DiaBeta, and Glucotrol Steroids such as prednisone

Special information if you are pregnant or breastfeeding: When used in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, Avalide can cause injury and even death to the unborn child. Stop taking Avalide as soon as you know you are pregnant. If you know you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, tell your doctor immediately. Avalide appears in breast milk and can affect the nursing infant. If this medication is essential to your health, your doctor may advise you to stop breastfeeding while you are taking Avalide.

Recommended dosage: Avalide tablets come in two strengths: 150 milligrams irbesartan with 12.5 milligrams hydrochlorothiazide 300 milligrams irbesartan with 12.5 milligrams hydrochlorothiazide ADULTS: The usual starting dose of Avalide is 1 lower-strength tablet daily. It will take 2 to 4 weeks for Avalide to reach its maximum effectiveness. If your blood pressure does not respond to the initial dosage, your doctor may increase the dosage to 1 higher-strength tablet or 2 lower-strength tablets taken once a day.

Overdosage: Any medication taken in excess can have serious consequences. Information on Avalide overdosage is limited, but extremely low blood pressure and an unusually rapid or slow heartbeat are likely signs of an overdose. Other signs may include dry mouth, excessive thirst, muscle cramps, weakness, restlessness, confusion, and nausea. If you suspect an overdose, seek medical attention immediately.

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