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Home / Drugs / Starting with I / Irbesartan

Irbesartan is an angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB) used mainly for the treatment of hypertension. It competes with angiotensin II for binding at the AT1 receptor subtype. Unlike ACE inhibitors, ARBs do not have the adverse effect of dry cough. The use of ARBs is pending revision due to findings from several clinical trials suggesting that this class of drugs may be associated with a small increased risk of cancer.
Irbesartan [Usan:Inn]
CategoriesAntihypertensive Agents
Angiotensin II Receptor Antagonists
Angiotensin II Type 1 Receptor Blockers
ManufacturersSanofi aventis us llc
PackagersAdvanced Pharmaceutical Services Inc.
Amerisource Health Services Corp.
AQ Pharmaceuticals Inc.
A-S Medication Solutions LLC
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.
Bryant Ranch Prepack
Diversified Healthcare Services Inc.
Heartland Repack Services LLC
Murfreesboro Pharmaceutical Nursing Supply
Physicians Total Care Inc.
Prepackage Specialists
Prepak Systems Inc.
Promex Medical Inc.
Resource Optimization and Innovation LLC
Sanofi-Aventis Inc.
Southwood Pharmaceuticals


For the treatment of hypertension, as well as diabetic nephropathy with an elevated serum creatinine and proteinuria (>300 mg/day) in patients with type 2 diabetes and hypertension. Irbesartan is also used as a second line agent in the treatment of congestive heart failure.


Angiotensin II, the principal pressor agent of the renin-angiotensin system, is responsible for effects such as vasoconstriction, stimulation of synthesis and release of aldosterone, cardiac stimulation, and renal reabsorption of sodium. Irbesartan is a specific competitive antagonist of AT1 receptors with a much greater affinity (more than 8500-fold) for the AT1 receptor than for the AT2 receptor and no agonist activity. Irbesartan's inhibition of angiotensin II binding to the AT1 receptor leads to multiple effects including vasodilation, a reduction in the secretion of vasopressin, and reduction in the production and secretion of aldosterone. The resulting effect is a decrease in blood pressure.

mechanism of action

Irbesartan is a nonpeptide tetrazole derivative and an angiotensin II antagonist that selectively blocks the binding of angiotensin II to the AT1 receptor. In the renin-angiotensin system, angiotensin I is converted by angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) to form angiotensin II. Angiotensin II stimulates the adrenal cortex to synthesize and secrete aldosterone, which decreases the excretion of sodium and increases the excretion of potassium. Angiotensin II also acts as a vasoconstrictor in vascular smooth muscle. Irbesartan, by blocking the binding of angiotensin II to the AT1 receptor, promotes vasodilation and decreases the effects of aldosterone. The negative feedback regulation of angiotensin II on renin secretion is also inhibited, but the resulting rise in plasma renin concentrations and consequent rise in angiotensin II plasma concentrations do not counteract the blood pressure–lowering effect that occurs. The action of ARBs is different from ACE inhibitors, which block the conversion of angiotensin I to angiotensin II, meaning that the production of angiotensin II is not completely inhibited, as the hormone can be formed via other enzymes. Also, unlike ACE inhibitors, irbesartan and other ARBs do not interfere with response to bradykinins and substance P, which allows for the absence of adverse effects that are present in ACE inhibitors (eg. dry cough).


Hypotension and tachycardia; bradycardia might also occur from overdose, LD50=mg/kg(orally in rat)


Hepatic. Irbesartan is metabolized via glucuronide conjugation and oxidation. In vitro studies of irbesartan oxidation by cytochrome P450 isoenzymes indicated irbesartan was oxidized primarily by 2C9; metabolism by 3A4 was negligible.


Rapid and complete with an average absolute bioavailability of 60-80%. Food has no affect on bioavailability.

half life

11-15 hours

route of elimination

Irbesartan is metabolized via glucuronide conjugation and oxidation. Irbesartan and its metabolites are excreted by both biliary and renal routes. Irbesartan is excreted in the milk of lactating rats.

drug interactions

Amiloride: Increased risk of hyperkalemia

Drospirenone: Increased risk of hyperkalemia

Lithium: The ARB increases serum levels of lithium

Potassium: Increased risk of hyperkalemia

Spironolactone: Increased risk of hyperkalemia

Tobramycin: Increased risk of nephrotoxicity

Trandolapril: The angiotensin II receptor blocker, Irbesartan, may increase the adverse effects of Trandolapril.

Treprostinil: Additive hypotensive effect. Monitor antihypertensive therapy during concomitant use.

Tretinoin: The moderate CYP2C8 inhibitor, Irbesartan, may decrease the metabolism and clearance of oral Tretinoin. Monitor for changes in Tretinoin effectiveness and adverse/toxic effects if Irbesartan is initiated, discontinued to dose changed.

Triamterene: Increased risk of hyperkalemia