Losartan is a type of antihypertensive medication. The brand name for this medication is Cozaar. It is in the angiotensin II receptor agonists class. When someone takes Losartan, it causes their blood vessels to stop constricting. This allows increased blood flow and reduced blood pressure. Most of the time Losartan is used for treating the following:
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Kidney issues and Type II diabetes, along with high blood pressure levels
- Other types of blood pressure-related issues
There have been other off-label reasons why someone has been prescribed this medication as well.
Losartan is usually prescribed orally, starting at 50 mg each day. When blood pressure levels are under control, the medication is prescribed at 25 mg – 200 mg, one or two times each day.
Losartan Addiction Potential
There are statistics constantly being gathered by multiple organizations and medical professionals regarding the abuse and addiction to various medications. When it comes to Losartan, someone does need to have the medication prescribed by a physician. However, this is not a substance that is controlled through the DEA (United States Drug Enforcement Administration). This means that the main organizations don’t consider Losartan to have a high potential for abuse.
There is some information out there that suggests elders have misused hypertensive medications.Some newer studies show that Losartan is one of the medications that has a potential for abuse, particularly in the elderly communities. They might take more of the medication than prescribed. They might take a higher dosage at once, instead of the twice daily, smaller doses which were prescribed.
Abusing Losartan doesn’t produce euphoric sensations, increased energy, or psychoactive effects. Due to this factor, Losartan isn’t generally sold by dealers on the streets.
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FDA and Losartan
The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) does have some information stating that some people who have a substance abuse disorder will develop hypertension. When they are diagnosed with hypertension, their physician may prescribe Losartan. Some of the information given by the FDA includes the following:
- Very few people who abuse narcotics also use Losartan for treating high blood pressure
- A slightly higher number of females who abuse narcotics take Losartan than the males (55% female, 45% male)
- Most who were put into the study who recovering from a narcotic abuse disorder
- Most of those who had a narcotic abuse disorder and who used Losartan who over 50 years of age
- Most of those in the study also had treatments due to a Type II diabetes diagnosis
- Main side effects related to Losartan use are dizziness and cardiac-related issues
With this information, you can see that Losartan is sometimes prescribed to someone who has a substance abuse disorder. However, nothing directly points to this medication being a high risk for abuse in those who are recovering from an addiction. It doesn’t cause psychoactive effects, so it isn’t for beneficial for those who want a quick high. Some research shows that certain antihypertensive medications could help someone overcome a substance abuse disorder.
Losartan Side Effects
Losartan and other antihypertensive medications do have some possible side effects. Some of those side effects may be more severe or even serious. There are some medication interactions related to Losartan use as well. These interactions could cause a number of other uncomfortable side effects. Due to this fact, medications should be used only when a physician has prescribed them. The Complete Guide to Prescription and Nonprescription Drugs states some of the Losartan side effects as the following:
- Blurred vision
- Cold sweats
- Stomach cramping
- Stomach pains
- Cloudy urine
- Urinating frequently
- Painful urination
- Bladder pain
- Cardiac issues
- Irregular heartbeat
- Minor confusion
- Breathing issues
- Unusual bleeding and bruising
Unpredictable and rare side effects might present themselves in certain psychiatric disorders or medical conditions. One such disorder in which that might occur is bipolar disorder.
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Interactions with Losartan
There are many interactions when taking Losartan with some medications. That is why it is recommended that this medication and others are only taken when supervised and prescribed by your physician. It is not usually advisable for pregnant women to take Losartan. However, this would be decided by the physician caring for the pregnant woman. It may need to be discussed on a case-by-case basis.
In rare situations, someone might experience a condition called rhabdomyolysis. This condition causes a breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue. It also causes cells to go into the bloodstream. From there, the kidneys could be damaged or even fail. If someone has a high sensitivity to weakness or pain, generally feel tired, or have darker-color urine, while using Losartan, they should call their doctor right away. Some of the other issues with interactions could include:
These are quite rare, but they could occur. Someone could also have an allergic reaction to Losartan. When someone is going to a doctor, they should tell that doctor about all the medications they are taking. This could help to prevent unwanted medication interactions, allergic reactions, or severe side effects. If someone has a psychiatric condition, they should advise their doctor of this before taking any medications as well.
Dependence Upon Losartan & Withdrawal Symptoms
It should be noted that those who take Losartan long-term may develop a mild, physical dependence upon the medication. If this occurs, stopping the medication could cause some level of anxiety, flu-like symptoms, and irritability. These symptoms are all usually mild, but it is possible for them to be moderate to severe as well.
However, with this being said, based on clinical standards, these symptoms when going off from Losartan, still do not denote a substance abuse issue or addiction. Even so, before someone stops taking any kind of medication, they should first talk to their doctor about doing so. If someone starts experiencing, the above-mentioned withdrawal symptoms, should report it to their doctor. The doctor may want to taper them off the medication on a predesignated schedule. This allows the patient to slowly come off from the medication to prevent or reduce the unwanted symptoms. While the withdrawal symptoms aren’t usually dangerous, this still may be the right course of action for some patients.
It should also be known that someone can overdose on Losartan. If they do overdose, it could cause major cardiac problems. Someone who overdoses on this medication should seek out medical attention right away.
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Review of Losartan
Losartan is one of the antihypertensive drugs. It doesn’t have a high potential for abuse. However, some people do still misuse this medication. They might take it with other kinds of drugs. They might use too much of the drug or take a dose that was not prescribed to them. Using more of this drug won’t cause psychoactive effects or major euphoria. Due to this fact, it isn’t labeled as a type of controlled substance. The DEA, SAMHSA, and other major organizations do not track abuse of Losartan because of the low potential for abuse. There are some negative side effects that may occur when using Losartan. If these are present, the individual should seek out care from their physician. If someone overdoses on Losartan, they should get medical attention immediately. If you or someone you know has been abusing Losartan, you can contact a treatment center to help you stop using the drug.
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