Skip to content

    Heart Failure Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Heart Failure and Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers

    Angiotensin II receptor blockers (also called ARBs) block the effects of a substance called angiotensin II. Angiotensin II causes blood vessels to constrict, which can lead to high blood pressure. ARBs help dilate blood vessels to lower blood pressure, making it easier for the heart to pump blood.

    ARBs are often prescribed for patients who cannot tolerate an ACE inhibitor medication.

    Recommended Related to Heart Failure

    Edema Overview

    Edema is the medical term for swelling. It is a general response of the body to injury or inflammation. Edema can be isolated to a small area or affect the entire body. Medications, infections, pregnancy, and many medical problems can cause edema. Edema results whenever small blood vessels become "leaky" and release fluid into nearby tissues. The extra fluid accumulates, causing the tissue to swell.

    Read the Edema Overview article > >

    There are several different ARBs, including:

    Atacand and Diovan are approved for the treatment of patients with heart failure.

    How Do I Take ARBs?

    Most ARBs can be taken on an empty or full stomach. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for specific instructions. Follow the label directions on how often to take this medication. The number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and how long you need to take the medication will depend on the type of ARB prescribed, as well as your condition.

    While taking this drug, have your blood pressure and kidney function tested regularly, as advised by your doctor or nurse.

    Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory so that your response to an ARB can be monitored.

    Note: It may take many weeks for you to feel the full effects of the medication.

    What Are the Side Effects of ARBs?

    • Dizziness, lightheadedness, or faintness upon rising: This side effect may be strongest after the first dose, especially if you have been taking a diuretic (water pill). Get up more slowly. Contact your doctor if these symptoms persist or are severe.
    • Diarrhea, muscle cramps or weakness, back or leg pain, insomnia (difficulty sleeping), sinusitis, or upper respiratory infection: Contact your doctor if these symptoms are persistent or severe.
    • Irregular heartbeat, or fast or slow heartbeat: Contact your doctor if these symptoms are persistent or severe.
    • Confusion: Contact your doctor right away.

    If you become sick with severe vomiting or diarrhea, you may become dehydrated, which can lead to low blood pressure. Contact your doctor. Also contact your doctor if you have any other symptoms that cause concern.

    Today on WebMD

    Compressed heart
    Article
    Salt Shockers
    Slideshow
     
    Inside A Heart Attack
    Slideshow
    lowering blood pressure
    SLIDESHOW
     

    Mechanical Heart
    Article
    Omega 3 Overview Slideshow
    Slideshow
     
    Atrial Fibrillation Guide
    Slideshow
    Simple Steps to Lower Cholesterol
    Slideshow
     

    Compressed heart
    Article
    FAQ Heart Failure
    Article
     
    Cholesterol Confusion
    Health Check
    Resolved To Quit Smoking
    Slideshow
     

    WebMD Special Sections