Candesartan: Common Treatment for Hypertension

Candesartan is an active metabolite of the pro-drug candesartan cylexethyl, which is administered orally. After undergoing a series of chemical reactions, it transforms into the active principle itself, which is what triggers the action of this common treatment for hypertension.
Candesartan: Common Treatment for Hypertension

Last update: 27 December, 2020

Candesartan is an oral medication and a common treatment for hypertension. It belongs to the family of angiotensin II receptor antagonists, also known as ARA-II.

Doctors often prescribe this type of medication in cases where patients don’t tolerate treatment with ACEIs or ACE inhibitors. It’s very common for treatment based on ACEI administration to produce a dry cough or angioedema induction. In these cases, treatment switches to ARA-II.

At the same time, candesartan is an active metabolite of the pro-drug candesartan cylexethyl, which is administered orally. After suffering a series of chemical reactions, it transforms into the active principle itself, which is what triggers the action.

Candesartan as a treatment for hypertension and heart failure

A woman taking a person's blood pressure.

Although the main use of this medicine is for the treatment of hypertension, doctors also prescribe it to patients suffering from heart failure.

In this sense, the results of the CHARM study, carried out at the beginning of 2000, demonstrated the clinical efficacy of candesartan in reducing morbidity and mortality when administered to treat heart failure.

Thus, while experts don’t yet consider ACEIs to be a first-line therapy in heart failure, candesartan is useful and effective in these heart conditions.

Let’s look more closely at what these two pathologies consist of.

What is hypertension?

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a condition that occurs when blood pressure levels rise continuously or steadily. Diagnosis occurs when a patient’s systolic blood pressure is 140 mm Hg or higher and the diastolic blood pressure is above 90 mm Hg.

In order to better understand this, it’s important to know the concept of blood pressure. The heart exerts pressure on the arteries so that they carry the blood in the direction of the different organs of the body. The highest blood pressure values are obtained when the heart contracts; the lowest when this organ relaxes.

At the same time, it’s important to know that there’s also a type of arterial hypertension known as secondary arterial hypertension that’s produced as a consequence of other organic diseases, generally of renal or endocrine origin.

Arterial hypertension is, nowadays, one of the most prevalent diseases in developed countries. It’s considered one of the main risk factors for the development of cardiovascular diseases such as:

  • Heart failure
  • Kidney and brain diseases
  • Ocular problems

What about heart failure?

A stethescope resting on a red cutout in the shape of a heart.

This disease appears when there’s an imbalance between the heart’s ability to pump blood and the body’s needs.

It can be triggered by different causes, such as:

  • Diseases of the heart: Ischemic cardiopathy or valvulopathies.
  • Heart failure due to increased demand: Some pathologies such as anemia, generalized infections in the body, or diseases of the thyroid glands can cause an increased demand for blood. This fact makes a healthy heart unable to supply these blood needs.

At the same time, this disease can develop with symptoms, but it can also be present for a long time. When they appear, the most common ones are:

  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Feeling of fullness of the abdomen
  • Feeling of dizziness, confusion, or blank mind
  • Fluid retention

How does candesartan affect the body?

A computerized image of a human body showing arteries and veins running through it.

This drug blocks the AT1 receptors of angiotensin II. Angiotensin is a protein molecule that constitutes the main peptide of the renin-angiotensin system. This system mainly controls blood pressure, among other processes.

Through a series of biochemical reactions, angiotensin II increases blood pressure. Therefore, by antagonizing the receptors to which the angiotensin binds to increase blood pressure, it’s possible to regulate it in cases where it presents above-normal values.

Conclusion

Candesartan is a medicine mainly prescribed to fight high blood pressure. To achieve this objective, it antagonizes the receptors of angiotensin II, a protein molecule that increases blood pressure.

It’s subject to medical prescription, so you should never self-medicate. Also, be sure to tell your doctor if you’re taking any other medications, as they can interact. Above all, always follow the guidelines he or she gives you.

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  • Yusuf, S., Pfeffer, M. A., Swedberg, K., Granger, C. B., Held, P., McMurray, J. J. V., … Östergren, J. (2003). Effects of candesartan in patients with chronic heart failure and preserved left-ventricular ejection fraction: The CHARM-preserved trial. Lancet. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(03)14285-7
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