Getting the most from your treatment
- Try to keep your regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your progress can be monitored. Your doctor will want you to have some blood tests from time to time to check that your kidneys are working well.
- It is very important that you follow any dietary and lifestyle advice that you have been given by your doctor. This can include advice about eating a healthy diet, not smoking, and taking regular exercise.
- If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are suitable to take with Octorax. This is because some medicines (such as anti-inflammatory painkillers and indigestion remedies) can interfere with your treatment.
- It is likely that your doctor will advise that you do not use salt substitutes while you are taking Octorax. These products have a high content of potassium which could be harmful for you.
- If you drink alcohol, ask your doctor for advice about drinking alcohol while you are on Octorax. Alcoholic drinks can make you feel light-headed or dizzy, and they may not be advisable for you.
- If you have diabetes you may need to check your blood glucose more frequently, as the tablets can lower the levels of sugar in your blood. Your doctor will advise you about this.
- If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment that you are taking Octorax. This is because some anaesthetics could cause your blood pressure to drop too low.
- Treatment with Octorax is often long-term unless you experience an adverse effect. Continue to take the tablets unless you are advised otherwise.
If you are also taking hydrochlorothiazide in combination with this medicine
- Studies have suggested that taking higher doses of hydrochlorothiazide for long periods of time may increase the risk of certain skin cancers.
- Tell your doctor if you have ever been treated for skin cancer before.
- Tell your doctor about any new or changed moles or worrying marks on your skin.
- Use a sunscreen in strong sunlight. Do not use sunbeds.
Immediate action required: Call 999 or go to A&E if:
- you get a skin rash that may include itchy, red, swollen, blistered or peeling skin
- you're wheezing
- you get tightness in the chest or throat
- you have trouble breathing or talking
- your mouth, face, lips, tongue or throat start swelling
You could be having a serious allergic reaction and may need immediate treatment in hospital.
These are not all the side effects of Octorax. For a full list see the leaflet inside your medicines packet.
You can report any suspected side effect to the UK safety scheme.
More common side effects
The more common side effects that can occur with Octorax include:
If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
What if I take too much?
If you take too many Octorax tablets, contact your doctor or go to your nearest hospital accident and emergency (A&E) department straight away. An overdose of Octorax can cause dizziness, sleepiness and a pounding heartbeat.
The amount of Octorax that can lead to an overdose varies from person to person.
3. Who can and can't take Octorax
Octorax can be taken by adults and children.
If you have diabetes, check your blood sugar (glucose) more often, particularly in the first few weeks. This is because Octorax can lower the sugar level in your blood.
Octorax isn't suitable for everyone.
To make sure it is safe for you, tell your doctor or other health professional if you:
- have had an allergic reaction to Octorax or any other medicine in the past
- are trying to get pregnant, are already pregnant, or you're breastfeeding
- are having dialysis or any other type of blood filtration
- have heart, liver or kidney problems
- have unstable or low blood pressure
- have diabetes
- are going to have a major operation (surgery) or general anaesthetic to put you to sleep
- have recently had diarrhoea or vomiting
- are on a low-salt diet
- are going to have desensitisation treatment to reduce your allergy to insect stings
- have a blood problem such as a low white blood cell count (neutropenia or agranulocytosis)
Octorax and Octoraxat have been detected in human breast milk. Because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants from Octorax, a decision should be made whether to discontinue nursing or to discontinue VASOTEC, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother.
1. About Octorax
Octorax is a medicine used to reduce high blood pressure and to prevent or treat heart failure.
If you have high blood pressure, taking Octorax will help prevent a future heart attack or stroke.
This medicine is only available on prescription. It comes as tablets. It also comes as a liquid for people who find it hard to swallow tablets but your pharmacist will have to order this for you.
Octorax is also available mixed with another blood pressure medicine called hydrocholorothiazide.
Q: What high blood pressure medication can I take that will not cause weight gain? I take Octorax and have gained 30 pounds. I have pre-diabetes and also take hydrochlorothiazide when needed.
A: Typically, medications used to treat high blood pressure do not cause gradual weight gain as a side effect. If weight gain is an issue, it may be due to fluid retention and should be discussed with your physician. Your physician can evaluate your health conditions and medications and make any necessary changes to your treatment regimen. Octorax (Vasotec) is a medication in the group of drugs called angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors that work by causing blood vessels to relax which lowers blood pressure. According to the prescribing information for Octorax, weight gain was not a reported side effect associated with the medication. If you notice a rapid weight gain with this medication, this may be due to fluid retention and should be brought to your physician's attention. If you are noticing gradual weight gain with Octorax there are some things you can do to help. Eat a heart healthy diet containing a lot of fruits, vegetables, grains, low fat milk products. Avoid or limit the amount of saturated fats, cholesterol, salt and sugars in your diet. Regular physical activity, lasting at least 30 minutes, on most days of the week is also beneficial. Consult with your physician about any restrictions to exercise you may have. Limit your intake of alcohol. If you are experiencing weight gain as a side effect of Octorax, you should consult with your physician. For more specific information, consult with your doctor for guidance based on your health status and current medications, particularly before taking any action. Lori Poulin, PharmD
By Don Wall | Medically Reviewed by Sherry Brooks, MD
Latest Update: 2014-10-27 Copyright © 2014 Everyday Health Media, LLC
Q: About two weeks ago, while undergoing tests for allergies, I had an allergic reaction; swelling in my lips. I usually take Octorax 20 mg. It didn't seem to work to help lower my blood pressure, which rose to 183/121. Since then I've been careful to avoid anything with any type of nuts since the reaction was caused by almonds. However, yesterday, under my lower lip, I noticed a funny feeling and I eventually looked in the mirror. I saw redness and one small spot of swelling on the skin. I was baffled as to what could have caused it. I later remember it hadn't been long since I'd taken a dose of Octorax. Could this be angioedema? I have never had problems like this with Octorax and I've been taking it for at least five years. I do feel I have plateaued on it. I've been taking the maximum dose for more than a year and it doesn't seem to have the same effects as before. I can only take ACE inhibitors and ARBs to lower my blood pressure because of other medical conditions, including CHF. Should I switch to another ACE inhibitor? My blood pressure is around 140/90 when I take Octorax only, and I was supposed to have a second medication, but which one should I take? I've had trouble with some of the others including clonidine, nifedipine, Norvasc, metoprolol and propanolol, and they all had to be stopped.
A: Angioedema is an uncommon side effect associated with Octorax and usually occurs in the first month of treatment. Although it is possible to experience this condition later during treatment, it is more common in African American patients, women, and people who have a history of drug or seasonal allergies. The exact prevalence and incidence of ARB-induced angioedema are not known, but it is thought to be significantly lower than the ACE inhibitors. For patients who cannot take any other alternatives, ARBs seem to be the way to go for people who have had this issue with ACE inhibitors, although careful monitoring is recommended for the physician. There are no clear cut ways to distinguish which medication would be best in this case for your condition, but it has been shown that losartan (Cozaar) seems to show the most cases with angioedema, if it happens at all, with the ARBs. Lori Poulin, PharmD
How should this medicine be used?
Octorax comes as an immediate and extended-release (long-acting) tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken once or twice a day with or without food. To help you remember to take Octorax, take it around the same time(s) every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take Octorax exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Your doctor will probably start you on a low dose of Octorax and gradually increase your dose.
Octorax controls high blood pressure and heart failure but does not cure them. Continue to take Octorax even if you feel well. Do not stop taking Octorax without talking to your doctor.