Compare Benicar vs. Norvasc

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Benicar
(olmesartan)

Norvasc
(amlodipine)

Lowers blood pressure. Benicar (olmesartan) is a good blood pressure-lowering medicine that protects your kidneys, but with fewer side effects.Lowers blood pressure. Norvasc (Amlodipine) works well to lower blood pressure and prevent chest pain. You can't miss doses, and you might get persistent swelling.
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
5.41Benicar
Reviews for Benicar
65%
of people (All ages) say Benicar is worth it
63%
say it works well
12%
say it's a big hassle
118 reviews
Have you used Benicar (olmesartan)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Norvasc
58%
+7% better vs. Benicar
50%
+13% better vs. Benicar
15%
+3% better vs. Benicar
443 reviews
Have you used Norvasc (amlodipine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
BenicarNorvasc
  • Dizziness 2%
More Benicar side effects »
  • Swelling due to excess fluid 2%
  • Dizziness 1%
  • Heart pounding or racing sensation 5%
  • Flushing 3%
  • Fatigue 2%
  • Nausea 1%
  • Abdominal pain 2%
  • Drowsiness 2%
More Norvasc side effects »
How it works
BenicarNorvasc
Benicar (olmesartan) is an angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB). It lowers blood pressure by blocking a chemical that tightens the blood vessels. This allows more blood and oxygen to get to your heart and other organs.Norvasc (Amlodipine) is a calcium channel blocker. It lowers blood pressure by slowing your heart rate and relaxing your blood vessels. Your heart gets more oxygen and doesn't have to work as hard to pump, which can relieve chest pain.
Type of medication
BenicarNorvasc
Prescription onlyPrescription only
Available as
BenicarNorvasc
  • Pill
  • Pill
Used for
BenicarNorvasc
Risk factors for serious side effects
BenicarNorvasc
  • Women of childbearing age
  • History of kidney problems
  • African descent
  • Current kidney problems
  • Using medicines that increase potassium
Detailed Benicar (olmesartan) risks & warnings »
  • Age 65 years or older
  • History of heart problems
  • Liver disease
  • History of blood vessel disease
  • History of heart failure
Detailed Norvasc (amlodipine) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy

Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

Interactions
BenicarNorvasc
No interactions related info.
  • Interacts with the cholesterol medicine Simvastatin.
Kidneys and liver
BenicarNorvasc
  • Benicar (olmesartan) can hurt your kidneys. If you already have some degree of kidney damage, Benicar (olmesartan) could make it worse. It's important to get blood work done to check your kidney function before starting Benicar (olmesartan) and at least once a year while you're still taking it.
  • Requires regular blood tests to check kidney function.
  • Protects kidney function, which is especially useful for people with diabetes or mild-to-moderate kidney disease.
  • Your body uses your liver to break down Norvasc (Amlodipine) and remove it from your blood. If you have liver disease you may not be able to remove Norvasc (Amlodipine) as quickly from your blood as someone with a healthy liver. You should increase the dose of Norvasc (Amlodipine) slowly and watch closely for how it is working in your body. Increasing the dose slowly will lower your chances of having side effects.
  • Might not be a good choice if you have liver disease.
Pain
BenicarNorvasc
No pain related info.
  • Worsening heart pain or increased risk of heart attack is possible when you first start taking Norvasc (Amlodipine). This can also happen after you increase the dose of Norvasc (Amlodipine). Notify your doctor immediately if you experience any heart pain, radiating jaw pain, crushing chest pain, or persistent racing heartbeat.
Weight
BenicarNorvasc
  • Benicar (olmesartan) has been reported to cause severe diarrhea and weight loss unexplained by other causes. Stay hydrated and notify your doctor if you continue to have more than 3-4 loose stools a day.
No weight related info.
Upsides and benefits
BenicarNorvasc
  • A first-choice blood pressure treatment for many people.
  • Lowers the risk of heart attack and stroke.
  • Similar to ACE inhibitors (like lisinopril), with fewer side effects like cough and swelling.
  • Protects kidney function, which is especially useful for people with diabetes or mild-to-moderate kidney disease.
  • Available by itself and in combination with different blood pressure medicines in a single pill.
  • A first-choice blood pressure treatment for many people.
  • Calcium channel blockers work especially well for African Americans to lower blood pressure.
  • Lowers the risk of heart attack and stroke.
  • Prevents heart-related chest pain (angina) if you take it regularly.
  • Each dose lasts longer than other calcium channel blockers, which keeps blood pressure consistent without big ups and downs.
  • Particularly good at lowering systolic blood pressure (the top number), so it's a good option for older people who can commonly get high blood pressure only in the top number.
Downsides and risks
BenicarNorvasc
  • Requires regular blood tests to see how the medicine is affecting your body.
  • Not safe to use if you're pregnant.
  • Recently became a generic, though still relatively expensive.
  • Calcium channel blockers can cause swelling in your limbs. If this happens for you, it probably won't get better over time, so talk to your doctor about alternatives if it bothers you.
  • Women are more likely to have side effects (especially swelling) from Amlodipine than men.
  • Some people might experience flushing with this medication.
  • You can't miss doses. Stopping Amlodipine suddenly can cause your blood pressure to go up suddenly, which raises the risk of heart attack and stroke.
  • If you have severe heart disease, using Amlodipine might increase your risk of chest pain or heart attack during the time right after starting the medication or raising the dosage.
  • Might not be a good choice if you have liver disease.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
BenicarNorvasc
  • Can cause dizziness in the first few days.
  • Check your blood pressure 1 week after starting this medicine and tell your doctor if it hasn't improved.
  • Tell your doctor about any dizziness, fatigue, cough, or throat irritation that doesn't go away.
  • Requires regular blood tests to check kidney function.
  • Don't take it if you're pregnant.
  • Can cause dizziness in the first few days.
  • Check your blood pressure 1 week after starting this medicine, and tell your doctor if it hasn't improved.
  • Interacts with the cholesterol medicine Simvastatin.
  • Can cause ankle or foot swelling.
  • Can cause gum overgrowth. Ask your dentist to check for this side effect.
Learn more
More about BenicarSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Benicar (olmesartan)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about NorvascSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Norvasc (amlodipine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it