Sounds like 'KAN-de-SAR-tan"

Easy-to-read medicine information about candesartan – what is it, how to take candesartan safely and possible side effects.

Type of medicine Also called
  • Belongs to a group of medicines called angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs)
  • Atacand®
  • Candestar®

What is candesartan?

  • Candesartan is used to lower high blood pressure (hypertension). It works by relaxing the blood vessels and in this way lowers blood pressure. It also protects your kidneys, and is helpful in patients with diabetes or kidney disease.
  • Candesartan is also used to treat heart failure.
  • It is available as tablets.


  • The dose of candesartan for adults tends to vary from 4mg to 32 mg per day. 
  • For high blood pressure, the usual maintenance dose is  8 mg once daily.
    For heart failure, the starting dose is often 4 mg once daily and increased slowly at 2 to 4 week intervals to target dose of 32 mg once daily or to maximum tolerated dose.
  • Starting low and going slow allows your body to get used to the medicine and reduces unwanted side effects.
  • Always take your candesartan as prescribed. If you have any questions, make sure to ask your pharmacist or doctor. 

How to take candesartan

  • Take candesartan, once a day, at the same time each day. It is best taken in the morning.
  • You can take candesartan with or without food.
  • Limit alcohol intake while you are taking candesartan. Alcohol can increase your chance of side effects such as dizziness and light-headedness.
  • If you forget to take your dose, take it as soon as you remember.
  • But, if it is nearly time for your next dose, just take the next dose at the right time. Do not take double the dose.
  • Do not take potassium tablets while you are taking candesartan, unless your doctor tells you to.

Possible side effects

Like all medicines, candesartan can cause unwanted side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often unwanted side effects improve as your body gets used to the new medicine.

Side effects What should I do?
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling light headed
  • Feeling faint when you stand up
  • This is quite common when you first start taking candesartan and usually goes way with time
  • Be careful when getting up from either lying down or sitting to avoid falls. These effects puts you at risk of falls and injuries, especially if your are elderly
  • Stand up slowly. If you do feel dizzy sit down, or lie down for a few moments
  • Tell your doctor if  this continues
  • Muscle cramps
  • Muscle weakness
  • Changes in your heart beat (either fast, slow or irregular)
  • Tell your doctor
  • Allergic reaction such as skin rash, itching, swelling of the lips, face, and mouth or difficulty breathing such as chest tightness, or wheezing
  • Tell your doctor immediately or ring HealthLine 0800 611 116
  • Signs of problems with your liver such as yellowing of the skin or eyes, dark urine, pain in the abdomen
  • Tell your doctor immediately or ring HealthLine 0800 611 116 


  • Candesartan may interact with a few medications and herbal supplements so check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting candesartan or before starting any new medicines.
  • Also, check with your pharmacist before taking over-the-counter medicines such as:
    • Cold and flu medicines containing phenylephrine (e.g. Sudafed PE)
    • Anti-inflammatories such as diclofenac (e.g. Voltaren Rapid), ibuprofen (e.g. Nurofen), naproxen (e.g. Naprogesic).

Learn more

For more information about candesartan, view:

Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist. Reviewed By: Dr J Bycroft. Health Navigator NZ Last reviewed: 22 Oct 2015