Avapro (Irbesartan) - Oral


Taking an angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB), like Avapro (irbesartan), can harm a developing fetus if taken during pregnancy. If you suspect that you’re pregnant, notify your healthcare provider to discuss the next steps, such as stopping the ARB during your pregnancy

What Is Avapro?

Avapro (irbesartan) is a prescription medication option for the treatment of hypertension or diabetic nephropathy in people with hypertension.

Avapro is in the angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB) medication class. It works by blocking angiotensin II, which is a type of hormone. Angiotensin II raises high blood pressure by squeezing blood vessels and encouraging the release of another hormone called aldosterone. Aldosterone influences the kidneys to hold onto salt and water. With high amounts of salt and water in the body, blood pressure also rises.

Angiotensin II can also lead to kidney damage by squeezing the kidney blood vessels and lessening blood flow to the kidneys.

Angiotensin II and aldosterone are some of the hormones in the renin-angiotensin system (RAS). If you suspect that you’re pregnant, notify your healthcare provider to discuss the next steps, such as stopping the ARB during your pregnancy. Taking an ARB—like irbesartan—while pregnant might have negative effects on the fetus.

Avapro is available in tablet form.

Drug Facts

Generic Name: Irbesartan

Brand Name(s): Avapro

Administration Route(s): Oral

Drug Availability: Prescription

Therapeutic Classification: Angiotensin II receptor antagonist

Available Generically: Yes

Controlled Substance: N/A

Active Ingredient: Irbesartan

Dosage Form(s): Tablet

What Is Avapro Used For?

Avapro is used to treat high blood pressure and diabetes-related kidney disease in people with high blood pressure.

Hypertension is a blood pressure measurement with the top number being higher than 130 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or the bottom number is more than 80 millimeters of mercury. In the United States (U.S.), 116 million adults have high blood pressure or take medications to treat this condition. However, only 1 in 4 adults with high blood pressure has their conditions well-controlled. Uncontrolled blood pressure raises the likelihood of heart attack or stroke, which are the leading causes of death in the U.S.

Uncontrolled blood pressure also raises the risk of kidney disease in people with diabetes—which is a high blood sugar medical condition.

Avapro (Irbesartan) Drug Information - Illustration by Zoe Hansen

Verywell / Zoe Hansen

How to Take Avapro

Take Avapro once a day by mouth with or without food. Remember to continue to take your medication regularly, even if you feel well. Aside from your blood pressure readings, there are usually few noticeable symptoms to indicate that your blood pressure is too high. Therefore, it is important to take your medication as prescribed.

How to Store Avapro

Avapro is a non-controlled prescription. Your healthcare provider may authorize refills for up to one year from the originally written date on the prescription. After bringing Avapro home from the pharmacy, store the medication at 77 degrees Fahrenheit (F)—which is room temperature. If necessary, Avapro has a safe storage temperature range of 59 degrees to 86 degrees F for a short period.

If you’re going to travel, be prepared by familiarizing yourself with your final destination’s regulations. In general, however, keep irbesartan in its original container—that has your name on it—from the pharmacy. Also, consider having a copy of your irbesartan prescription.

Off-Label Uses

A healthcare provider may prescribe off-label treatments when the decision is supported by scientific evidence or expert clinical experience. Avapro has been prescribed for the following off-label uses:

  • Heart attack: If an individual experienced a heart attack and couldn’t take an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor (ACE inhibitor), then experts recommend an ARB—like irbesartan. An ACE inhibitor works by blocking the body from making more angiotensin II.
  • Nondiabetic proteinuric chronic kidney disease (CKD): Whether or not an individual has diabetes, experts recommend an ARB—like irbesartan—for people with CKD and protein in their urine.

How Long Does Avapro Take to Work?

Avapro might require two weeks for full effectiveness.

What Are the Side Effects of Avapro?

Side effects are possible with Avapro.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. A healthcare provider can advise you on side effects. If you experience other effects, contact your pharmacist or a healthcare provider You may report side effects to the FDA at fda.gov/medwatch or 1-800-FDA-1088.

Common Side Effects

If you’re taking Avapro for high blood pressure, common side effects may include:

If you have high blood pressure and you’re also taking Avapro for diabetes-related kidney disease, common side effects include:

Severe Side Effects

Although high potassium and low blood pressure are common side effects, they can be serious.

Seek medical attention if you have high potassium symptoms, such as:

Also, seek medical attention if you experience dangerously low blood pressure. Symptoms of extremely low blood pressure may include:

  • Blue skin tone
  • Cold and sweaty skin
  • Fainting
  • Rapid breathing
  • Severe dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Weak and fast heartbeat

In some people, Avapro might worsen kidney function. If you notice the following symptoms of kidney impairment, seek medical attention.

  • Ammonia-smelling breath
  • Appetite loss
  • Foamy urine
  • Pain in the upper back
  • Tiredness or low energy
  • Urinating difficulties.

Long-Term Side Effects

Long-term treatment with Avapro is linked to a low rate of side effects. According to Avapro’s prescribing information, Avapro didn’t lead to any genetic changes in various lab tests.

Report Side Effects

Avapro may cause other side effects. Call your healthcare provider if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your healthcare provider may send a report to the FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program or by phone (800-332-1088).

Dosage: How Much Avapro Should I Take?

Drug Content Provided and Reviewed by IBM Micromedex®

The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For oral dosage forms (suspension or tablets):
    • For high cholesterol:
      • Adults—20 to 40 milligrams (mg) once a day in the evening. Your doctor may adjust your dose as needed.
      • Children 10 years of age and older—10 to 40 mg once a day in the evening. Your doctor may increase your dose as needed.
      • Children younger than 10 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.


Taking Avapro during the second or third trimester of your pregnancy can have negative effects on the fetus. If you suspect that you’re pregnant, immediately inform your healthcare provider and stop taking Avapro.

As for breastfeeding, there is limited data on the effectiveness and safety in nursing babies. Although it’s unknown whether Avapro is present in human breast milk, it is present in rat milk. Due to the potential for negative effects on nursing babies, the manufacturer—Sanofi-Aventis—doesn’t recommend taking Avapro while nursing.

Missed Dose

There was no rebound high blood pressure when stopping Avapro after eight weeks of therapy. Even if you feel well, however, continue to take your medication until you and your healthcare provider decide to stop it. Taking Avapro may prevent a heart attack, stroke, and worsening kidney function.

Overdose: What Happens If I Take Too Much Avapro?

There is limited overdose data for Avapro. However, daily Avapro doses of up to 900 milligrams are well-tolerated. If you take too much Avapro, you will likely experience extremely low blood pressure. You might also have a fast or slow heartbeat.

What Happens If I Overdose on Avapro?

If you think you or someone else may have overdosed on Avapro, call a healthcare provider or the Poison Control Center (800-222-1222).

If someone collapses, has a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can’t wake up after taking too much Avapro, call 911 immediately.


Drug Content Provided and Reviewed by IBM Micromedex®

It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits. This will allow your doctor to see if the medicine is working properly and to decide if you should continue to take it. Blood and urine tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.

Using this medicine while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control to keep from getting pregnant. If you think you have become pregnant while using the medicine, tell your doctor right away.

Do not use simvastatin if you are also taking boceprevir (Victrelis®), cobicistat-containing products (Stribild®), cyclosporine (Gengraf®, Neoral®, Sandimmune®), danazol (Danocrine®), gemfibrozil (Lopid®), nefazodone (Serzone®), telaprevir (Incivek®), certain antibiotics (eg, clarithromycin, daptomycin, erythromycin, itraconazole, ketoconazole, posaconazole, telithromycin, voriconazole, Nizoral®), or medicines to treat HIV/AIDS (eg, atazanavir, indinavir, nelfinavir, ritonavir, saquinavir, Crixivan®, Kaletra®, Lexiva®, Norvir®, Prezista®, Reyataz®). Using these medicines together with simvastatin may increase your risk of muscle injury and could result in kidney problems.

Chinese patients who are taking large amounts of niacin (greater than or equal to 1 gram or 1000 milligrams per day) together with this medicine may have an increased risk for muscle injury. Talk to your doctor if you are Chinese or have Chinese ancestry and take large amounts of niacin (Niacor®, Niaspan®). You may need a different dose of this medicine.

Call your doctor right away if you have unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness, especially if you also have unusual tiredness or a fever. These may be symptoms of serious muscle problems, such as myopathy or immune-mediated necrotizing myopathy (IMNM). Myopathy is more common when high doses of simvastatin (eg, 80 milligrams) are used, but some people get myopathy with lower doses.

Call your doctor right away if you have dark-colored urine, diarrhea, a fever, muscle cramps or spasms, muscle pain or stiffness, or feel very tired or weak. These could be symptoms of a serious muscle problem called rhabdomyolysis, which can cause kidney problems.

Call your doctor right away if you get a headache, stomach pain, vomiting, dark-colored urine, loss of appetite, weight loss, general feeling of tiredness or weakness, light-colored stools, upper right stomach pain, or yellow eyes or skin. These could be symptoms of liver damage.

Make sure any doctor or dentist who treats you knows that you are using this medicine. You may need to stop using this medicine if you have major surgery, a major injury, or you develop other serious health problems.

Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.

What Are Reasons I Shouldn’t Take Avapro?

If the following applies to you, avoid Avapro:

  • Pregnancy: Taking Avapro while pregnant might have negative effects on the fetus.
  • Severe allergic reaction: Don't take it if you're allergic to Avapro or its components.
  • Tekturna (aliskiren) use: If you have diabetes and take Tekturna, the manufacturer recommends avoiding Avapro.

What Other Medications Interact With Avapro?

Use caution with the following medications:

  • Lithium: Lithium is a mood stabilizer. Taking lithium and Avapro raises the risk of lithium toxicity. To prevent this, your healthcare provider might closely monitor the lithium amounts in your body.
  • NSAIDs and COX-2 inhibitors: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitors can be commonly used to relieve pain. Some examples of NSAIDs include ibuprofen and naproxen, and an example of a COX-2 inhibitor is Celebrex (celecoxib). Combining any of these meds with Avapro might worsen kidney function and lessen Avapro’s effectiveness.
  • Potassium-raising medications: Since one of Avapro’s common side effects is high amounts of potassium, taking other medications that also raise potassium might lead to too much potassium in the body. If taking multiple potassium-raising medications is necessary, your healthcare provider will regularly monitor your potassium. 
  • Dual blockade of RAS: In addition to Tekturna, other medications that also block RAS include ACE inhibitors—like lisinopril—and ARBs. Taking Avapro with Tekturna or an ACE inhibitor raises the likelihood of side effects, such as high potassium amounts in your body, drastically low blood pressure, and worsening kidney function. Combining these similar medications is not usually recommended.

If you have any questions or concerns about these drug interactions, talk with your healthcare provider or pharmacist.

What Medications Are Similar?

There are many blood pressure medication classes. Avapro, however, is in the ARB medication class, which also includes the following:

As previously mentioned, taking more than one RAS-blocking medication—like multiple ARBs—is not typically recommended. If you have questions, please talk with your healthcare provider.

Out of all the available ARBs, Avapro doesn't have many combination products. Avapro also has fewer drug and food interactions. In addition to diabetes-related kidney disease, Avapro is the first-choice ARB for people with erectile dysfunction (ED). People with diabetes, gout, and dementia may also benefit more Avapro.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Will Avapro’s side effects ever go away?

    Side effects are possible with Avapro, but many of the side effects are mild and temporary.

    If your side effects are bothering you, talk with your healthcare provider—who can make some adjustments to lessen your side effects. If you believe that your side effects are severe or life-threatening, however, seek immediate medical attention.

  • Can I drink alcohol with Avapro?

    A common side effect of Avapro is dizziness. Mixing alcohol and irbesartan can further lower your blood pressure and worsen side effects—like dizziness. If you experience dizziness, avoid alcohol. To be safe, talk with your healthcare provider before combining alcohol and Avapro.

  • Will I need other blood pressure medications in addition to Avapro?

    If you’re taking Avapro to treat high blood pressure, keep in mind that the number of blood pressure medications varies per person. However, few people reach the goal blood pressure measurements with only one medication. Some people may take more than one medication to achieve their lower blood pressure goals.

  • Will I have to take Avapro for life?

    Like the number of blood pressure medications, the duration of Avapro therapy also varies per person. Some people will take Avapro for long periods of time. With a healthy diet and exercise regimen, however, other people will achieve their blood pressure goals. Some healthcare providers may agree to lower the medication dose or have a short holiday from the medication.

  • Are there other medications that I can take for my diabetes-related kidney disease?

    For most people with diabetes and chronic kidney disease, experts recommend a combination of metformin and a sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 inhibitor (SGLT2 inhibitor)—especially Jardiance (empagliflozin), Farxiga (dapagliflozin), or Invokana (canagliflozin). This combination can lower the risk of diabetes-related complications—like heart disease, stroke, and worsening kidney function—with a minimal chance of causing low blood sugar.

How Can I Stay Healthy While Taking Avapro?

As you are taking Avapro, lifestyle changes are important. Recommendations include:

To achieve the healthy diet goals for high blood pressure, diabetes, and CKD, consider meeting with a registered dietitian to help you come up with the best plan for you.

In addition to the above lifestyle changes, having a strong social support network can help. Consider sharing about your medical conditions to help your loved ones become more aware and provide you with the necessary encouragement or support.

Living with high blood pressure, diabetes, and CKD can understandably take a toll on your emotions. Make sure that you have proper sleep hygiene to help you consistently get enough sleep every night. Find ways—like meditation or deep-breathing exercises—to decompress every day. A mental health professional can also help you with some coping strategies. If necessary, there are also some medications to help improve mood conditions.

Medical Disclaimer

Verywell Health's drug information is meant for educational purposes only and is not intended as a replacement for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a healthcare provider. Consult your healthcare provider before taking any new medication(s). IBM Watson Micromedex provides some of the drug content, as indicated on the page.

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Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Ross Phan, PharmD, BCACP, BCGP, BCPS
Ross is a writer for Verywell with years of experience practicing pharmacy in various settings. She is also a board-certified clinical pharmacist and the founder of Off Script Consults.