Atacand (Candesartan Cilexetil) and/or alternatives
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General Information on Atacand
Atacand is a drug that belongs to a class of drugs known as angiotensin II receptor antagonists. It is used to prevent blood vessels from narrowing to improve blood flow and regulate blood pressure. The drug may also be used to treat certain kidney problems. You can buy Atacand to keep your blood pressure under control.
Side Effects for Atacand
As with several prescription drugs, Atacand has its share of side effects. However, it is important to know that not all patients using this drug suffer from its side effects. In most cases, the side effects of Atacan are minor. These include mild back pain, dizziness, mild headache or stomach pain, sore throat, runny nose, and coughing.
The other lesser known side effects of Atacand include intense chest pain, swelling in the hands or feet, weak pulse or slow heartbeat, and lightheadedness. If you experience any of these side effects, you must inform your doctor about it.
Before your doctor prescribes Atacand, you must inform him/her about your allergy problems and medical condition. You must avoid using Atacand if you are allergic to candesartan or if you have liver disease, kidney disease, or a history of heart problems. Pregnant women must avoid using Atacand as the drug may cause serious harm or even death to the unborn baby. While using Atacand, you must avoid taking alcohol, as the combination of alcohol and Atacand may drastically reduce your blood pressure and increase the intensity of harmful side effects. You must not stop using Atacand even if you feel fine or don’t have any blood pressure symptoms. Continue with the recommended dosage until your doctor advises you to stop using the drug.
The Atacand dosage your doctor prescribes will depend on various factors such as your past medical records, the types of other drugs you are using currently, the medical condition for which you are being treated, and the way your body responds to the drug. Your doctor may alter your Atacand dose by keeping you under observation for a few weeks and noticing the improvement in your condition during the period. At the beginning of the treatment process, the recommended Atacand dosage for adults is usually 16 mg once every day. To get maximum benefits from the drug and recover fast, you must strictly abide by the dosage recommended by the doctor. If you miss your regular dose or if you suspect an overdose, you must immediately consult your doctor.
Atacand has the tendency to interact with several other prescription medicines and over the counter drugs. The drug interactions may lead serious consequences including changes within the blood. It is therefore essential that you discuss with your doctor the possible drug interactions that would occur if you use other medicines in combination with Atacand. The drugs that may potentially interact with Atacand are potassium supplements, certain diuretics such as hydrochlorothiazide, furosemide, and torsemide. Atacand also interacts with lithium and potassium sparing diuretics. Consult your doctor before you buy Atacand to avoid unwanted health complications.
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What is a "Generic" medication/drug?
Generic drugs are medications that have comparable medicinal ingredients as the original brand name drug, but which are generally cheaper in price. Nearly 1 in 3 drugs dispensed are "generic". They undergo testing to ensure that they are similar to their "brand" counterparts in:
- Active Ingredient (e.g. "Pravastatin" is the active ingredient in brand name Pravachol)
- Dosage (e.g. 10 mg of the active ingredient)
- Safety (e.g. same or similar side effects, drug interactions)
- Performance (e.g. 10 mg of a "generic" can be substituted for 10 mg of the "brand" and have the same therapeutic result)
- Intended use (e.g. both "generic" and "brand" would be prescribed for the same conditions)
What this means is that "generic" medications can be used as a substitute of their brand equivalents with the comparable therapeutic results. There are a few exceptions (examples are outlined at the end of this page) and as always you should consult your physician before switching from a brand name medications to a generic or vice versa.
What differences are there between generic and brand?
While generics and brand equivalent drugs contain the same active ingredients, they may be different in the following ways:
- Appearance (e.g. the scoring or markings)
The color, shape and size of the medication come from the fillers that are added to the active ingredients to make the drug. These fillers that are added to the drug have no medical use and do not to change the effectiveness of the final product. A generic drug must contain comparable active ingredients and must have a comparable strength and dosage as the original brand name equivalent. Generic drugs can be more cost effective than purchasing the brand name.
Why do generics cost less than the brand name equivalents?
When a new drug is "invented", the company that discovered it has a patent on it that gives them the exclusive production rights for this medication. Once the patent expires in a country, other companies can bring the product to market under their own name. This patent prevents other companies from copying the drug during that time so they can earn back their Research and Development costs through being the exclusive supplier of the product. After the patent expires however, other companies can develop a "generic" version of the product. These versions generally are offered at much lower prices because the companies do not have the same development costs as the original company who developed the medication.
The main thing to realize here though is that the two products are therapeutically equivalent. They may look different, and be called something different.
How are Generic drugs tested to ensure quality and efficacy?
Generally speaking, the two most generally accepted methods to prove the safety of a generic version of a drug are to either repeat most of the chemistry, animal and human studies originally done, or to show that the drug performs comparably with the original brand name drug. This second option is called a "comparative bioavailability" study. During this type of study, volunteers are given the original drug, and then separately later the generic drug. The rates at which the drug is delivered to the patient (into their blood stream or otherwise absorbed) are measured to ensure they are the same. Because the same active ingredient is used the major concern is just that it delivers the common chemical(s) at the same rate so that they have the same effect. Please note that the methods that the manufacturers use may vary from country to country.