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Micardis HCT

Pronounced: my-CAR-diss
Generic name: Telmisartan, Hydrochlorothiazide

Why is this drug prescribed: Micardis HCT is a combination medication used in the treatment of high blood pressure. One component, telmisartan, belongs to a class of blood pressure medications that work by preventing the hormone angiotensin II from constricting the blood vessels. This allows the blood to flow more freely and helps keep blood pressure down. The other component of Micardis HCT, hydrochlorothiazide, is a diuretic that increases the output of urine. This removes excess fluid from the body and helps lower blood pressure. Doctors usually prescribe Micardis HCT in place of its individual components. It can also be prescribed along with other blood pressure medications.

Most important fact about this drug: Micardis HCT should reduce your blood pressure within a couple of weeks. You need to continue taking this drug regularly, even if you feel well. Micardis HCT does not cure high blood pressure, it merely keeps it under control.

How should you take this medication: Micardis HCT may be taken with or without food. Take Micardis HCT exactly as directed. Try to take it at the same time each day so that it is easier to remember. --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. Do not take 2 doses at once. --Storage instructions... Store at room temperature. Leave each tablet in its blister pack until you're ready to take it.

What side effects may occur: Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking Micardis HCT. More common side effects may include: Diarrhea, dizziness, fatigue, sinus inflammation, upper respiratory infection Other side effects may include: Abdominal pain, back pain, bronchitis, cough, headache, indigestion, flu-like symptoms, low blood pressure upon standing up, low potassium, nausea, pain, rapid heartbeat, sore throat, rash, urinary tract infection, vomiting

Why should this drug not be prescribed: Do not take this drug if you are allergic to telmisartan, hydrochlorothiazide, or any sulfa drugs.

Special warnings about this medication: Micardis HCT can cause low blood pressure, especially if you are also taking another diuretic. This may make you feel light-headed or faint, especially during the first days of therapy. If these symptoms occur, contact your doctor. Your dosage may need to be adjusted. If you actually faint, stop taking this medication until you have talked to your doctor. If you have congestive heart failure, liver or kidney disease, lupus, gout, or diabetes Micardis HCT should be used with caution. This drug may bring out hidden diabetes. If you are already taking insulin or oral diabetes drugs, your medication may have to be adjusted. The hydrochlorothiazide component of Micardis HCT also has a tendency to raise cholesterol levels. If you have bronchial asthma or a history of allergies, you may be at greater risk for an allergic reaction to this medication. The diuretic in Micardis HCT can cause a chemical imbalance in the body, especially if vomiting has depleted your fluids. Your doctor will perform blood tests periodically to check for this imbalance. Signs include dry mouth, thirst, weakness, sluggishness, drowsiness, restlessness, confusion, seizures, muscle pain or cramps, muscle fatigue, low blood pressure, decreased urination, rapid heartbeat, nausea, and vomiting. Call your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms. Diuretics also can cause your body to lose too much potassium. Signs of an excessively low potassium level include muscle weakness and rapid or irregular heartbeat. To boost your potassium level, your doctor may recommend eating potassium-rich foods or taking a potassium supplement. If you think you need a supplement, check with your doctor; do not start taking one on your own. Likewise, check with your doctor before using a potassium-containing salt substitute. Dehydration, excessive sweating, severe diarrhea, or vomiting could deplete your body's fluids and cause your blood pressure to become too low. Be careful when exercising and during hot weather. Micardis HCT has not been evaluated for use in children.

Possible food and drug interactions when taking this medication: If Micardis HCT 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 Micardis HCT with the following: Alcohol Barbiturates such as phenobarbital and Seconal Cholestyramine (Questran) Colestipol (Colestid) Digoxin Insulin Lithium (Eskalith) Muscle relaxants such as tubocurarine Narcotic painkillers such as Percocet Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Advil, Motrin, or Naprosyn Norepinephrine (Levophed) Oral diabetes drugs such as Diabinese, Diabeta, or Glucotrol Other blood-pressure lowering drugs Steroid medications such as prednisone

Special information if you are pregnant or breastfeeding: Micardis HCT can cause injury or even death to an unborn child when used during the last 6 months of pregnancy. As soon as you learn that you are pregnant, stop taking Micardis HCT and call your doctor. Micardis HCT appears in breast milk and can affect a nursing infant. You'll need to choose between breastfeeding or using Micardis HCT.

Recommended dosage: Micardis HCT is available in tablets containing either 40 or 80 milligrams of telmisartan and 12.5 milligrams of hydrochlorothiazide. The usual starting dose is one 40/12.5 tablet per day. If your blood pressure does not respond to this dose, after 2 to 4 weeks your doctor may increase your dose up to a maximum of two 80/12.5 tablets once daily.

Overdosage: Any medication taken in excess can have serious consequences. If you suspect an overdose, seek medical help immediately. Symptoms of Micardis HCT overdose may include: Dizziness, dry mouth, excessive thirst, irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure, muscle pain or cramps, nausea, rapid or slow heartbeat, vomiting, weakness

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