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Heart Attack and Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers (ARBs)

Read more about Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers (ARBs).


Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) are a newer class of medications similar to ACE inhibitors, but with a significantly lower frequency of cough as a side effect. Doctors may prescribe this class of medicine for patients who cannot tolerate ACE inhibitors because of cough or other side effects.

Common ARBs include:

  • Candesartan (Atacand)
  • Irbesartan (Avapro)
  • Losartan (Cozaar)
  • Valsartan (Diovan)

Effect of Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers (ARBs) on Heart Attack

Like ACE inhibitors, ARBs relax blood vessels, lower blood pressure, and ease the heart’s workload. These effects may benefit people who have sustained damage to the heart as the result of a heart attack.

Side Effects and Warnings

Possible side effects of ARBs include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nasal congestion
  • Back and leg pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Heartburn

The general side effects in ARBs were similar to that of placebos in most studies. Like ACE inhibitors, they may have very rare, but severe side effects.