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 kidney function like an ACE inhibitor, 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.
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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
5.376146788990826Benicar
Reviews for Benicar (Olmesartan)
66%
of people say Benicar (Olmesartan) is worth it
63%
say it works well
13%
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Norvasc (Amlodipine)
59%
7% vs. Benicar (Olmesartan)
50%
13% vs. Benicar (Olmesartan)
14%
1% vs. Benicar (Olmesartan)
Side effects
BenicarNorvasc
  • Dizziness 2%
More Benicar side effects »
  • Swelling due to excess fluid 10%
  • Fatigue 2%
  • Nausea 1%
  • Dizziness 1%
More Norvasc side effects »
How it works
BenicarNorvasc
Benicar (Olmesartan) is an angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB). It blocks a chemical that tightens blood vessels. This makes blood vessels relax, which lowers blood pressure and 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
Antihypertensive
Angiotensin receptor blocker
Prescription only
Antihypertensive
Calcium channel blocker
Prescription only
Available as
BenicarNorvasc
  • Pill
  • Pill
Used for (click to learn more)
BenicarNorvasc
Risk factors for serious side effects
BenicarNorvasc
    • African descent
    • Current kidney problems
    • Medicine that increase potassium
    • Use of salt substitute
      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
      • History of kidney disease
      • Obesity
      Detailed Norvasc (Amlodipine) risks & warnings »
      Pregnancy category
      BenicarNorvasc
      DFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

      Research studies with real people found harmful effects on unborn babies, but the benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

      See the FDA package insert
      CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

      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.

      See the FDA package insert
      Alcohol
      No specific alcohol-related info.No specific alcohol-related info.
      Food
      No specific food-related info.No specific food-related info.
      Kidneys and liver
      • Protects kidney function, which is especially useful for people with diabetes or mild-to-moderate kidney disease.
      • Requires routine blood tests to check kidney function.
      • Norvasc (Amlodipine) can cause varying degrees of swelling in your limbs. The most commonly affected areas are your feet, ankles, legs, or occasionally your arms. Swelling may be worse if you have other conditions that makes it hard for your body to get rid of fluids such as congestive heart failure or kidney disease. If your swelling is caused by Norvasc (Amlodipine), it should improve when you stop taking the medication. If the swelling is bothersome, a different medication may be better for you.
      Sex
      No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
      Sleep
      No specific sleep-related info.No specific sleep-related info.
      Weight
      • 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 specific weight-related info.
      Upsides and benefits
      BenicarNorvasc
      • 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.
      • Recommended for anyone with heart failure since it lowers the risk of death and further damage to your heart.
      • A first-choice blood pressure treatment for many people.
      • Lowers the risk of heart attack and stroke.
      • Calcium channel blockers work especially well for African Americans to lower blood pressure.
      • 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.
      • A first-choice blood pressure treatment for many people.
      • Lowers the risk of heart attack and stroke.
      Downsides and risks
      BenicarNorvasc
      • Requires a yearly blood test to see how the medicine is affecting your body.
      • Not safe to use if you're pregnant.
      • Not available in less expensive generic form.
      • 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
      • Tell your doctor about any dizziness, fatigue, cough, or throat irritation that doesn't go away.
      • Requires routine 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.
      • 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.
      Learn more
      More about BenicarSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
      More about NorvascSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert