Angiotensin receptor antagonists, angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) or simply sartans are used for treatment of hypertension, heart failure and diabetic nephropathy (kidney disease in diabetes). These drugs work by antagonizing the effect of the enzyme angiotensin II and are an alternative to ACE inhibitors. ACE-I are usually used as a first line medication but some patients develop troublesome dry cough with ACE-I and then ARBs are excellent alternative.
Candesartan, eprosartan, losartan, valsartan and telmisartan are some examples of ARBs. Angiotensin receptor antagonists are normally well tolerated but like any other medication may have side effects. Particularly important is to monitor kidney function; a blood sample will be usually taken 7-10 days after starting ARBs and then always following a change in dose.