Benicar is actively composed of a drug called olmesartan that treats high blood pressure, also called hypertension.
It is important to control high blood pressure in order to prevent heart attacks, strokes, and even kidney problems.
Olmesartan is a drug that belongs to a class of therapeutic agents called angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs). So, Benicar is not a beta-blocker, but an ARB.
Both beta-blockers and ARBs are used for the treatment of high blood pressure and heart failure.
ARBs block the action of angiotensin II by preventing it from binding to receptors on the muscles surrounding blood vessels, according to MedicineNet. Angiotensin II is a vasoconstrictor hormone that contracts the blood vessels, causing pressure within the vessels.
When this hormone cannot adhere to receptors, blood vessels dilate and eventually, blood pressure is reduced. Simply put, ARBs work by relaxing blood vessels so that heart can pump blood more easily.
On the other hand, beta-blockers, also called beta-adrenergic blockers, block the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and epinephrine (adrenaline) from binding to beta-receptors on nerves, according to MedicineNet. When this happens, the blood vessels dilate, resulting in a reduction of heart rate and blood pressure.
Beta-blockers are also used to treat angina (chest pain), arrhythmias, heart failure, tremors, migraine headache prevention, panic disorder, anxiety, and glaucoma (increase blood pressure in the eyes). They are also advised to prevent future heart attacks.
Some of the common examples of beta-blockers include atenolol (Tenormin), carvedilol (Coreg), metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL), and propranolol. Other than Benicar, some examples of ARBs include olmersazilsartan (Edarbi), irbesartan (Avapro), telmisartan (Micardis), valsartan (Diovan), and losartan (Cozaar).
According to MedicineNet, some side effects of ARBs and beta-blockers are similar, such as rash, diarrhea, and fatigue.
Both ARBs and beta-blockers are effective when it comes to treating hypotension. Your doctor may suggest any of these medications depending on your blood pressure readings and overall health.
Word of Caution
Benicar is not advised if you are allergic to olmesartan or any other ARBs. It is also not prescribed to diabetic patients who are taking any medication that contains aliskiren (a blood pressure medicine).
Doctors also avoid recommending Benicar with aliskiren if you have chronic kidney disease (CKD). Therefore, it is important to tell your doctor about the medical conditions you have or the medications you have been taking. Benicar is contraindicated in pregnant women and lactating mothers. The bottom line of this article is Benicar does not belong to a beta-blocker class of drug, but it is an ARB. Although the action mechanism of ARBs and beta-blockers is different, they both are indicated for the treatment of high blood pressure.