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Candesartan oral

Updated 2 Feb 2023 | Angiotensin-II antagonists


Oral formulations of candesartan cilexetil.

Drugs List

  • AMIAS 16mg tablets
  • AMIAS 2mg tablets
  • AMIAS 32mg tablets
  • AMIAS 4mg tablets
  • AMIAS 8mg tablets
  • candesartan 16mg tablets
  • candesartan 2mg tablets
  • candesartan 32mg tablets
  • candesartan 4mg tablets
  • candesartan 8mg tablets
  • Therapeutic Indications


    Treatment of cardiac failure (adjunct)
    Treatment of essential hypertension

    Treatment of essential hypertension.

    Treatment of heart failure and impaired left ventricle systolic function (left ventricular ejection fraction less than or equal to 40%) in addition to ACE-inhibitor or when ACE-inhibitors are not tolerated.



    The recommended initial dose and the usual maintenance dose is 8mg once daily.
    Adjust dose according to blood pressure response up to 16mg once daily. Most of the antihypertensive effect is attained within 4 weeks of initiation of treatment. If this dose is not sufficient, the maximum dose of 32mg once daily may be given. If blood pressure is not controlled at this dose, consider alternative strategies.

    Intravascular volume depletion
    An initial dose of 4mg may be considered for patients with possible volume depletion or other risk factors for hypotension. This may be increased at intervals of 4 weeks up to a maximum dose of 32mg once daily.

    Heart failure
    The recommended initial dose is 4mg once daily. Titration to higher doses can be achieved by doubling the dose at intervals of at least two weeks until the highest tolerated dose is achieved. Maximum dose is 32mg once daily.


    Children aged 6 to 18 years
    The recommended starting dose is 4mg daily.

    Patients weighing equal to or greater than 50kg
    In patients whose blood pressure is not adequately controlled, the dose can be increased to 8mg once daily and then to 16mg once daily if needed.

    Patients weighing less 50kg
    In patients whose blood pressure is not adequately controlled, the dose can be increased to a maximum of 8mg once daily.

    Doses above 32mg have not been studied.

    For children with possible intravascular volume depletion, candesartan treatment should be initiated under close medical supervision and a lower starting dose than the general starting dose.

    Cardiac failure
    Contraindicated in patients under 18 years.

    Patients with Renal Impairment

    The initial dose is 4mg in patients with renal impairment including patients on haemodialysis The dose should be adjusted according to response.

    Heart failure
    No initial dose adjustment is necessary.

    The manufacturer suggest that monitoring of renal function is particularly important in heart failure patients 75 years or older.

    The Renal Drug Handbook suggests the following dose:
    Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR)
    GFR less than 20ml/minute: Initial dose 2mg and increased according to response.

    Patients with Hepatic Impairment

    In patients with mild to moderate hepatic impairment a starting dose of 4mg once daily is recommended. The dose should be adjusted according to response.

    Heart failure
    No initial dose adjustment necessary in patients with mild to moderate hepatic impairment.


    Children under 6 years
    Renal impairment in children under 18 years where eGFR <30ml/min/1.73m sq
    Severe bilateral renal artery stenosis
    Severe hepatic impairment
    Severe unilateral stenosis of solitary functioning kidney

    Precautions and Warnings

    Children aged 6 to 18 years
    Aortic stenosis
    Bilateral renal artery stenosis
    Cerebrovascular disorder
    Glucose-galactose malabsorption syndrome
    History of angioedema
    Hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy
    Ischaemic heart disease
    Kidney transplantation
    Lactose intolerance
    Mitral stenosis
    Peripheral vascular disease
    Renal impairment
    Renovascular disorder
    Severe congestive cardiac failure
    Severe generalised atherosclerosis
    Unilateral stenosis of solitary functioning kidney

    Patients with primary aldosteronism may not benefit from this treatment
    Switch to more suitable alternative before planned pregnancy
    Advise ability to drive/operate machinery may be affected by side effects
    Advise patient that first dose hypotension may occur
    Afro-Caribbean or black patients may show reduced response
    Correct volume and/or salt depletion before initiating therapy
    Contains lactose
    Evaluate renal function before and during treatment
    Monitor serum electrolytes before and during treatment
    Monitor serum potassium regularly
    Increased risk of hyperkalaemia with K+ suppl. and K+ sparing diuretic
    Advise patient to seek advice at first indications of pregnancy
    Not licensed for all indications in all age groups
    Advise patient not to take NSAIDs unless advised by clinician
    Advise on problems of salt substitutes/high intake of potassium-rich food
    Female: Ensure adequate contraception during treatment

    In patients whose renal function may depend on the activity of the renin-angiotensin system (e.g. patients with severe congestive heart failure), treatment with ACE inhibitors has been associated with oliguria and/ or progressive azotaemia and in rare cases with acute renal failure and/ or death. As candesartan is an angiotensin II antagonist, it cannot be excluded that the use of this medication may be associated with impairment of the renal function.

    Addition of a thiazide-type diuretic such as hydrochlorothiazide has been shown to have an additive antihypertensive effect with candesartan cilexetil.

    Candesartan can be used in addition with other heart failure treatments, including ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers, diuretics and digitalis or a combination of these medicinal products.

    Candesartan may be co-administered with an ACE-inhibitor in patients with symptomatic cardiac failure despite optimal standard cardiac failure therapy when mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists are not tolerated.

    Pregnancy and Lactation


    Candesartan is contraindicated in pregnancy.

    Angiotensin II receptor antagonists may be associated with similar risks as ACE inhibitors. Angiotensin II receptor antagonist exposure during the second and third trimesters is known to induce human foetotoxicity (decreased renal function, oligohydramnios, skull ossification retardation) and neonatal toxicity (renal failure, hypotension, hyperkalaemia).

    The MHRA states that the use of angiotensin II receptor antagonists in late pregnancy has been associated with adverse effects on the foetal kidney and other congenital anomalies, therefore angiotensin II receptor antagonists should not be used at any stage during of pregnancy unless absolutely necessary and only then after the potential risks and benefits have been discussed with the patient.

    Exposure to angiotensin II receptor antagonists during the first trimester has been inconclusive, however, a small increase in risk cannot be excluded and a detailed ultrasound is recommended.

    If pregnancy is detected during therapy, candesartan should be discontinued as soon as possible and alternative treatment should be offered. Guidelines advise that women who are taking angiotensin II receptor blockers are told that there is an increased risk of congenital abnormalities if these drugs are taken during pregnancy and other antihypertensive treatments should be discussed and offered.

    The use of all medication in pregnancy should be avoided whenever possible; particularly in the first trimester. Non-drug treatments should also be considered. When essential, a medication with the best safety record over time should be chosen, employing the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible time. Polypharmacy should be avoided. Teratogens taken in the pre-embryonic period, often quoted as lasting until 14 to 17 days post-conception, are believed to have an all-or-nothing effect. Where drugs have a short half-life, and when the date of conception is certain, this may allow women to be reassured where drug exposure has occurred within this time frame. Further advice may be available from the UK National Teratology Information Service (NTIS) and through ToxBase, available via password on the internet ( ) or if this is unavailable at the backup site ( ).


    Candesartan is contraindicated in breastfeeding.

    It is not known if candesartan is excreted in human milk, however, the molecular weight is about 440, therefore excretion into human milk should be expected (Briggs, 2011).

    Schaefer (2007) suggests that accidental administration of a single dose does not require weaning, however, therapy should be changed to an antihypertensive which has been better studied in breastfeeding. The MHRA concludes that the use of angiotensin II receptor antagonists in breastfeeding mothers is not recommended. Alternative agents with more established safety profiles during breastfeeding are preferable, especially while nursing a newborn or preterm baby.

    Neonates, infants born prematurely, those with low birth weight, those with an unstable gastrointestinal function or who have serious illnesses may require special consideration. For any infant, if a drug is prescribed to the nursing mother, it should be at the lowest practical dose and for the shortest time. When drug administration is unavoidable and breastfeeding is to continue, minimisation of exposure of the infant to the drug may sometimes be achieved by timing the maternal doses to just after a feeding episode. Infants exposed to drugs via breast milk should be monitored for unusual signs or symptoms. Interactions between the drug received by the infant from the mother's milk and medication prescribed for the infant should also be considered, for example, when the drug given to the infant may prevent metabolism of the drug received via breast milk.
    Specialist advice is available from the UK Drugs in Lactation Advisory Service at

    Side Effects

    Acute renal failure
    Back pain
    Elevation of liver enzymes
    Hepatic disorders
    Upper respiratory tract infection


    It is strongly recommended that the UK National Poisons Information Service be consulted on cases of suspected or actual overdose where there is doubt over the degree of risk or about appropriate management.

    The following number will direct the caller to the relevant local centre (0844) 892 0111

    Information may be obtained if you have access to ToxBase the primary clinical toxicology database of the National Poisons Information Service. This is available via password on the internet ( ) or if this is unavailable at the backup site ( ).

    Further Information

    Last Full Review Date: January 2015

    Reference Sources

    Drugs During Pregnancy and Lactation: Treatment Options and Risk Assessment, 2nd edition (2007) ed. Schaefer, C., Peters, P. and Miller, R. Elsevier, London.

    Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation: A Reference Guide to Fetal and Neonatal Risk, 9th edition (2011) ed. Briggs, G., Freeman, R. and Yaffe, S. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia

    Summary of Product Characteristics: Amias Tablets. Takeda UK Ltd. Revised October 2014.

    The Renal Drug Handbook. 3rd edition. (2009) ed. Ashley, C and Currie, Radcliffe Publishing Ltd, Abingdon.

    MHRA Drug Safety Update: Breastfeeding with ACE inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor antagonists. Dated: May 2009
    Last accessed: 13 January, 2015

    NICE Evidence Services Available at: Last accessed: 25 September 2018

    National Institute for Health and Clinical excellence (NICE) clinical guidance 107: Hypertension in pregnancy. Issue date August 2010
    Available at:
    Last accessed: 13 January, 2015

    US National Library of Medicine. Toxicology Data Network. Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed).
    Available at:
    Candesartan. Last revised: 7 September, 2013
    Last accessed: 13 January, 2015

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