This class of medications are similar in some respects to ACE inhibitors. Like ACE inhibitors, they help dilate arteries, lowering blood pressure and making it easier for the heart to pump blood throughout the body. Also, like ACE inhibitors, they can improve congestive heart failure symptoms, decrease the chances of future hospitalizations for heart failure, and prolong life.

Ongoing studies are comparing the effects of ARBs with the ACE inhibitors and are investigating the use of both in patients with heart failure.

ARBs include:

  • Azilsartan medoxomil (Edarbi)
  • Candesartan (Atacand)
  • Irbesartan (Avapro)
  • Losartan (Cozaar)
  • Telmisartan (Micardis)
  • Valsartan (Diovan)

ARBs are generally taken once a day and do not commonly produce significant side effects. Rarely, they interfere with or worsen kidney function.

In April 2012, a combination of aliskiren and valsartan (called Valturna), which had been approved by the FDA in September 2009 to treat high blood pressure in some patients, was pulled from the U.S. market by the manufacturers. If you are taking this medication, contact your physician.

Publication Review By: Jagdish Patel, M.D., F.A.C.C.

Published: 30 Jun 2000

Last Modified: 21 Jan 2015