Benicar for High Blood Pressure Gets Generic Approval

Roni Shye
Roni Shye, PharmD BCGP BCACP, is a licensed pharmacist in the states of Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
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High blood pressure (hypertension) is a common condition that can lead to further cardiovascular issues like heart attack or stroke if left untreated. Even though high blood pressure is usually undetectable without a blood pressure cuff it’s extremely important to keep under control.

If you have high blood pressure your doctor might suggest lifestyle modifications such as weight loss, diet, and exercise—but you may also need a prescription medicine.

If you’ve been prescribed Benicar or a handful of other blood pressure medications, we have good news: generic olmesartan has been approved by the FDA. Olmesartan is an ingredient in multiple medications, all of which are used to treat high blood pressure.

When did the FDA approve generic olmesartan?

Olmesartan was approved by the FDA on October 26, 2016.

What brands can now include generic olmesartan?

Benicar (olmesartan), Benicar HCT (olmesartan and hydrochlorothiazide), Azor (olmesartan and amlodipine), and Tribenzor (olmesartan, amlodipine, and hydrochlorothiazide) will all have generic alternatives available.

Are there different dosage forms of olmesartan available?

No. Olmesartan-containing medications are only available as tablets.

Is olmesartan okay to use if I’m pregnant?

No. If you are pregnant you should not take any medications that contain olmesartan. You should discontinue taking any prescriptions that contain olmesartan as soon as possible once you know you’re pregnant, as they can cause injury and even death to the developing fetus.

What if I want to continue to use brand name Benicar, or one of the other brands?

If you would like to keep taking a brand name medication that contains olmesartan make sure your doctor handwrites BRAND MEDICALLY NECESSARY on your prescription. This means the pharmacy is not permitted to substitute and give you the generic product.

Otherwise, you can still request that your pharmacist fills the brand for you. Just make sure to inform the pharmacy before having your prescription filled. However, keep in mind that the brand will likely be expensive, and your insurance may not be willing to cover the cost once a generic is available.

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