Angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) rarely cause serious side effects. A few people have had angioedema while taking ARBs.

Angioedema is the extreme swelling of the face, lips, eyelids, tongue, neck, or throat. It can be an allergic reaction to ARBs. Swelling can make breathing difficult. This can be life-threatening.

If you have had this reaction before, tell your doctor before starting an ARB. Some people are at higher risk for having it again.

Studies find that about 1 in 1,000 people taking an ARB have angioedema. In these studies, about the same number of people have this while taking a sugar pill. This means the reaction may not be caused by ARBs.

All medicines can cause an allergic reaction in some people. But it is very rare for people taking an ARB to have an allergic reaction.

Seek immediate medical help if you have any of these symptoms while taking an ARB:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
  • A new rash or itching