Atacand vs Micardis

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For patients with high blood pressure (hypertension) or certain types of heart disease, medications that modify the function of specific proteins in the body involved in controlling blood pressure and fluid balance can aid in managing symptoms. Atacand and Micardis are two such drugs commonly administered for these conditions. They both impact a group of receptors called angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs), but each has slightly different effects on patients' cardiovascular system. Atacand, also known as candesartan, is beneficial not only for hypertension but also for heart failure and left ventricular systolic dysfunction after myocardial infarction due to its ability to block angiotensin II type 1 receptors. On the other hand, Micardis—known generically as telmisartan—offers benefits beyond just lowering blood pressure; it's often chosen because of its protective effect on the kidneys which makes it particularly useful for diabetic patients with kidney-related issues.

What is Atacand?

Candesartan (the generic name for Atacand) was a significant advancement in the class of medications known as angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs). Candesartan was first approved by the FDA in 1998. Atacand works by blocking the action of certain natural substances that tighten blood vessels, allowing blood to flow more smoothly and the heart to pump more efficiently. It is prescribed for treating high blood pressure and kidney problems caused by diabetes.

On the other hand, Telmisartan (the generic name for Micardis) also belongs to this same class of ARBs but has some differences from Candesartan. One key difference lies in their half-lives: Telmisartan has a longer half-life compared to Candesartan which means it stays active in your body for a longer period, therefore requiring less frequent dosage. Moreover, Micardis can also be effective at reducing cardiovascular risk in patients unable to take ACE inhibitors.

Both drugs have similar side effects including dizziness or lightheadedness due to lower blood pressure; however these are usually mild and temporary.

What conditions is Atacand approved to treat?

Atacand is approved for the treatment of different cardiovascular conditions:

  • Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure
  • Heart failure in patients aged over 18 years
  • Improvement of survival following myocardial infarction (when used with standard therapy) if left ventricular systolic dysfunction is present and patient has clinical symptoms of congestive heart failure.

How does Atacand help with these illnesses?

Atacand helps to manage high blood pressure and heart failure by blocking the action of a hormone in the body called angiotensin II. Angiotensin II causes blood vessels to constrict and promotes the release of another hormone called aldosterone, which leads to water retention in the body. By blocking this process, Atacand allows blood vessels to relax and widen, reduces fluid volume, and therefore lowers overall blood pressure. Lowering high blood pressure is crucial for preventing strokes, heart attacks, kidney problems, and other serious health issues that can arise from unmanaged hypertension. Like serotonin's role in depression management described above for Prozac, angiotensin II plays an important role in regulating cardiovascular function; by controlling its levels with Atacand usage when needed can limit potential negative effects of hypertension or heart failure on patients' health conditions.

What is Micardis?

Micardis is the brand name for telmisartan, which is an angiotensin II receptor antagonist. This means it works by blocking the action of certain natural substances that tighten the blood vessels, allowing the blood to flow more smoothly and reducing high blood pressure. Telmisartan was first approved by the FDA in 1998. Unlike Atacand (candesartan), another drug from this class, Micardis does not affect bradykinin levels which can lead to cough - a common side effect associated with some other antihypertensive drugs. Its mechanism of action also allows it to improve insulin sensitivity, making it potentially beneficial for patients with co-existing diabetes or metabolic syndrome. The effects on angiotensin II receptors can be advantageous for treating hypertension, especially in patients who do not respond well or have contraindications to ACE inhibitors like ramipril.

What conditions is Micardis approved to treat?

Micardis is a widely recognized angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB) that has received approval for the management of:

How does Micardis help with these illnesses?

Angiotensin II is a peptide hormone that plays an essential role in regulating blood pressure and fluid balance. It works by causing vasoconstriction and stimulating the release of aldosterone, a hormone that promotes sodium retention by the kidneys. However, high levels of angiotensin II can contribute to hypertension (high blood pressure) and heart disease. Micardis works by blocking the action of angiotensin II on its receptors, thus helping to relax and widen blood vessels which lowers blood pressure. This makes it beneficial for patients with hypertension or at risk of cardiovascular disease. While Atacand also blocks angiotensin II receptors, Micardis has been shown in some studies to have longer-lasting effects on reducing blood pressure throughout a 24-hour period – making it potentially more effective for maintaining consistent control over high blood pressure levels.

How effective are both Atacand and Micardis?

Both candesartan (Atacand) and telmisartan (Micardis) have a well-established history of effectively treating hypertension, with both receiving FDA approval in the late 1990s. They are both classified as angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs), meaning they work similarly to control high blood pressure by inhibiting the action of a hormone that constricts blood vessels. A study conducted in 2003 directly compared these two drugs and found them to be equally effective at reducing sitting diastolic blood pressure after an eight-week treatment period.

A review in 2012 showed that candesartan provides significant reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressures within two weeks of starting treatment. It is also generally well-tolerated, even among elderly populations or those with renal impairment, making it a popular choice for hypertensive patients worldwide. The usual recommended dose is between 8mg-16mg once daily, but this can vary depending on individual patient needs.

In terms of telmisartan, a meta-analysis from 2014 suggested that Micardis has similar efficacy when compared to other ARBs but may provide longer-lasting coverage due to its unique pharmacokinetic profile - it has the longest half-life among all ARBs which could potentially result in better round-the-clock control over blood pressure levels than some other medications. However, like all medications used for chronic conditions such as hypertension, direct comparisons between different individuals' experiences can be challenging due to variable factors like diet, exercise regimens and co-existing medical conditions.

abstract image of a researcher studying a bottle of drug.

At what dose is Atacand typically prescribed?

Oral dosages of Atacand typically range from 8–32 mg/day, but research suggests that an initial dose of 16 mg per day is adequate for managing hypertension in most adults. Pediatric patients aged 1 to <17 years may start with a lower dosage of 4-8 mg/day based on weight. In either population, the dosage can be adjusted after two weeks if blood pressure control isn't achieved. The maximum daily dose for adults should not exceed 32 mg and for children, it depends on body weight (up to a maximum of 16 mg). Micardis doses usually vary between 20-80mg once daily, starting at a recommended dose of 40mg once daily for most people with high blood pressure or cardiovascular risk factors. Your healthcare provider can adjust your medication as needed after several weeks depending on how you respond to treatment.

At what dose is Micardis typically prescribed?

Micardis treatment typically starts at a dosage of 40 mg/day for the management of hypertension. However, depending on your response to this initial dose, it may be increased to a maximum dosage of 80 mg/day after several weeks if blood pressure is not adequately controlled. This medication can be taken with or without food and should ideally be ingested at the same time each day for consistent results. For those suffering from heart failure or diabetic nephropathy, more frequent monitoring may be necessary as doctors carefully adjust dosages based on individual patient needs.

What are the most common side effects for Atacand?

While comparing Atacand to Micardis, it's important to note the side effects of both medications. Some common side effects associated with Atacand include:

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness due to a drop in blood pressure
  • Respiratory tract infections (like colds and flu)
  • Back pain
  • Nasal congestion, sinusitis
  • Sore throat

On the other hand, Micardis usage can result in:

  • Low blood pressure leading to dizziness or fainting
  • Upper respiratory infection symptoms like sore throat and nasal congestion
  • Diarrhea
  • Back pain
  • Sinus inflammation

It is essential that patients discuss these potential side effects with their healthcare provider before starting any new medication regimen.

abstract image of a patient experiencing side effect

Are there any potential serious side effects for Atacand?

Atacand and Micardis, both commonly used to treat high blood pressure, can potentially cause serious side effects in rare instances:

  • Unusual changes in mood or behavior
  • Signs of allergic reaction: hives, difficulty breathing, swelling of the face or throat
  • Vision problems: blurred vision or yellowing eyes/skin (a sign of liver issues)
  • Fast or irregular heartbeats; feeling like you might pass out due to sudden dizziness
  • Low potassium levels – causing leg cramps, constipation, irregular heartbeats
  • Kidney problems – little or no urinating; painful/difficult urination; swelling in your feet/ankles
    Severe skin reactions - fever, sore throat burning red/purple skin rash with blistering and peeling

If any of these symptoms are experienced after taking Atacand or Micardis it is important to seek immediate medical attention.

What are the most common side effects for Micardis?

Micardis, like most medications, can also cause some side effects. Some of the more common ones include:

  • Nausea or upset stomach
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness, particularly when getting up from a lying or sitting position
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Back pain
  • Sinus pain and congestion Remember that your physician has prescribed Micardis because they believe the benefits outweigh any potential risks. However, it's always important to monitor how you're feeling while on new medication and report any significant changes to your healthcare provider.

Are there any potential serious side effects for Micardis?

While Micardis is generally well-tolerated, it can occasionally cause serious side effects. These may include:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction such as hives, difficulty breathing, swelling in your face or throat
  • Lightheadedness or fainting especially when standing up too fast which could be a sign of low blood pressure
  • Rapid weight gain with swelling in the hands, ankles, or feet due to fluid retention
  • Kidney problems as shown by changes in the amount of urine produced and/or swelling in the feet and legs
  • An increase in potassium levels leading to heart rhythm problems – signs might include irregular heartbeats, muscle weakness or limp feeling.
  • Severe skin reactions that can cause rash on your face and body along with fever and burning eyes

If you experience any these symptoms while taking Micardis, seek immediate medical attention.

Contraindications for Atacand and Micardis?

Both Atacand and Micardis, like many other antihypertensive medications, may cause a decrease in blood pressure that can result in symptoms such as dizziness or fainting, particularly when getting up from a lying or sitting position. If you notice any of these symptoms worsening while on either medication, please seek immediate medical attention.

Neither Atacand nor Micardis should be taken if you are using, or have recently used angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. Always inform your physician about which medications you are taking; ACE inhibitors require a period of washout to prevent dangerous interactions with Atacand and Micardis.

In addition, both drugs should not be used by pregnant women especially during the second and third trimesters due to the risk of harm to the fetus. If pregnancy is detected while on these meds treatment should be discontinued immediately.

How much do Atacand and Micardis cost?

For the brand name versions of these drugs:

  • The price of 30 tablets of Atacand (16 mg) averages around $130, which works out to approximately $4.33/day.
  • The price for a similar quantity (30 tablets) of Micardis (40 mg) is roughly $125, averaging about $4.17/day.

Therefore, if you're prescribed the typical dosage for each drug, brand-name Micardis comes across as slightly less expensive on a per-day treatment basis. Remember that cost shouldn't be your primary consideration in determining which medication is right for you.

When it comes to generic versions of Atacand (candesartan) and Micardis (telmisartan), costs are significantly reduced:

  • Candesartan can be found in packs ranging from 15 up to 90 capsules with costs starting as low as $0.50 per day and not exceeding about $1 per day depending on the pack size you opt for.
  • Telmisartan also comes in various quantities with prices beginning at just under $.40/day if opting for larger packs and going up to around $.80/day for smaller ones.

Popularity of Atacand and Micardis

Candesartan, both in its generic form and under brand names such as Atacand, was estimated to have been prescribed to about 2 million people in the US in 2020. Candesartan accounted for just over 8% of Angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB) prescriptions in the US. It is commonly used to manage hypertension and heart failure.

Telmisartan, including brand versions such as Micardis, was prescribed to approximately 1.5 million people in the USA in 2020. In the US, telmisartan accounts for nearly 7% of ARB prescriptions. Telmisartan has an additional advantage because it may improve glucose metabolism which makes it a good choice for hypertensive patients with metabolic syndrome or diabetes. The prevalence of telmisartan has been slowly increasing over the last decade due to this added benefit.


Both Atacand (candesartan) and Micardis (telmisartan) are widely used in the treatment of hypertension and heart failure, with numerous clinical trials supporting their efficacy over placebo. Occasionally, these medications may be combined for a synergistic effect, but this should only be done under close medical supervision due to potential drug interactions. They have different mechanisms of action as they belong to different classes: Atacand is an angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB), while Micardis is an angiotensin receptor-neprilysin inhibitor (ARNI).

Atacand has been established as a first-line therapeutic option for most patients with hypertension or heart failure. On the other hand, Micardis might usually be considered as an add-on therapy to Atacand or in those who did not respond well to first-line ARBs or have specific contraindications such as renal impairment.

Both drugs are available in generic form which can result in significant cost savings especially for patients paying out-of-pocket. Both candesartan and telmisartan require some time before effects become noticeable.

The side-effect profile between Atacand and Micardis is quite similar; both drugs are generally well-tolerated but there could be differences based on individual response. It's important that patients closely monitor their blood pressure regularly when starting treatment and seek immediate medical attention if they experience symptoms like rapid weight gain or swelling in the face, arms, hands lower legs, or feet.