Valsartan/ hydrochlorothiazide

Generic Name: valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide (val-SAR-tan/HYE-droe-KLOR-oh-THYE-a-zide)
Brand Name: Diovan HCT

Valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide may cause birth defects or fetal death if you take it while you are pregnant. If you think you may be pregnant, contact your doctor right away. If you are planning to become pregnant, talk with your doctor about other treatment options.


Valsartan/ hydrochlorothiazide is used for:

Treating high blood pressure. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide is an angiotensin II receptor blocker and diuretic combination. The angiotensin II receptor blocker works by relaxing the blood vessels. Exactly how the diuretic works to decrease blood pressure is not known, but it helps the kidneys to eliminate fluid and sodium from the body.

Do NOT use valsartan/ hydrochlorothiazide if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide or to any other sulfonamide medicine (eg, sulfamethoxazole)
  • you are pregnant
  • you are unable to urinate
  • you are taking a medicine that contains aliskiren and you also have diabetes or kidney problems. Check with your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure if a medicine you take contains aliskiren
  • you are taking dofetilide or ketanserin

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Slideshow: 2014 Update: First Time Brand-to-Generic Switches

Before using valsartan/ hydrochlorothiazide:

Some medical conditions may interact with valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are able to become pregnant
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have a history of angioedema (eg, swelling of the hands, face, lips, eyes, throat, or tongue; trouble swallowing or breathing; hoarseness), including angioedema caused by treatment with any other angiotensin II receptor blocker (eg, losartan) or an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor (eg, captopril)
  • if you are dehydrated; have low blood volume; have swelling or fluid retention; have severe diarrhea or vomiting; have low blood sodium, chloride, potassium, or magnesium levels; or have high blood calcium levels
  • if you have asthma; gout or high blood uric acid levels; heart problems (eg, congestive heart failure); liver, gallbladder, or kidney problems; parathyroid gland problems; high blood cholesterol or lipid levels; diabetes; or systemic lupus erythematosus
  • if you are on a low-salt (sodium) diet or you drink alcohol
  • if you are on dialysis or you have recently had a certain type of nerve surgery (sympathectomy)
  • if you take other medicines for high blood pressure or heart problems

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Dofetilide or ketanserin because the risk of irregular heartbeat may be increased
  • Potassium-sparing diuretics (eg, spironolactone) or potassium supplements because the risk of high blood potassium levels may be increased
  • ACE inhibitors (eg, lisinopril) or aliskiren because the risk of certain side effects (eg, kidney problems, high blood potassium levels, low blood pressure) may be increased
  • Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), barbiturates (eg, phenobarbital), carbamazepine, corticosteroids (eg, prednisone), cyclosporine, diuretics (eg, furosemide), narcotic pain medicines (eg, morphine), rifamycins (eg, rifampin), ritonavir, or other medicines for high blood pressure because they may increase the risk of valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide's side effects
  • Aspirin, cholestyramine, or colestipol because they may decrease valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide's effectiveness
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (eg, celecoxib, ibuprofen) because they may decrease valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide's effectiveness and the risk of serious kidney problems may be increased
  • Certain cancer medicines (eg, cyclophosphamide), diazoxide, digoxin, lithium, or methotrexate because the risk of their side effects and toxic effects may be increased by valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide
  • Insulin or other diabetes medicines (eg, glipizide, metformin) because their effectiveness may be decreased by valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use valsartan/ hydrochlorothiazide:

Use valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • An extra patient leaflet is available with valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide. Talk to your pharmacist if you have questions about this information.
  • Take valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide by mouth with or without food.
  • Drinking extra fluids while you are taking valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide is recommended. Check with your doctor for instructions.
  • Valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide may increase the amount of urine or cause you to urinate more often when you first start taking it. To keep this from disturbing your sleep, try to take your dose before 6 pm.
  • If you take cholestyramine or colestipol, ask your doctor or pharmacist how to take it with valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide.
  • Continue to take valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide even if you feel well. Do not miss any doses.
  • If you miss a dose of valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide.

Important safety information:

  • Valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide may cause drowsiness, dizziness, or light-headedness. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • Valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide may cause dizziness, light-headedness, or fainting; alcohol, hot weather, exercise, or fever may increase these effects. To prevent them, sit up or stand slowly, especially in the morning. Sit or lie down at the first sign of any of these effects.
  • Report any light-headedness or fainting to your doctor immediately. Your risk of light-headedness or fainting may be increased if you experience diarrhea, vomiting, excessive sweating, if you do not drink enough fluids, or if you are on a low-salt (sodium) diet.
  • It may take 2 to 4 weeks for valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide to work fully. Do not stop using valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide or change your dose of valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide without checking with your doctor.
  • Valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide contains a sulfonamide called hydrochlorothiazide, which can cause certain eye problems (myopia, angle-closure glaucoma). Your risk may be increased if you are allergic to sulfonamide medicines (eg, sulfamethoxazole) or to penicillin antibiotics (eg, amoxicillin). Untreated angle-closure glaucoma can lead to permanent vision loss. If these eye problems occur, symptoms usually occur within hours to weeks of starting valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide. Contact your doctor right away if you experience symptoms such as vision changes (eg, decreased vision clearness) or eye pain.
  • Patients who take medicine for high blood pressure often feel tired or run down for a few weeks after starting treatment. Be sure to take your medicine even if you may not feel "normal." Tell your doctor if you develop any new symptoms.
  • Valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide may cause you to become sunburned more easily. Avoid the sun, sunlamps, or tanning booths until you know how you react to valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide. Use a sunscreen or wear protective clothing if you must be outside for more than a short time.
  • Tell your doctor or dentist that you take valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
  • If you have high blood pressure, do not use nonprescription products that contain stimulants. These products may include diet pills or cold medicines. Contact your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.
  • Your doctor may have also prescribed a potassium supplement for you. If so, follow the dosing carefully. Do not start taking additional potassium on your own, use a salt substitute, or change your diet to include more potassium without first checking with your doctor.
  • Valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide may raise your blood sugar. High blood sugar may make you feel confused, drowsy, or thirsty. It can also make you flush, breathe faster, or have a fruit-like breath odor. If these symptoms occur, tell your doctor right away.
  • Diabetes patients - Check blood sugar levels closely. Ask your doctor before you change the dose of your diabetes medicine.
  • Valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide may interfere with certain lab tests, including parathyroid function. Be sure your doctor and lab personnel know you are taking valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide.
  • Lab tests, including kidney function, blood pressure, and blood electrolytes, may be performed while you use valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Use valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects.
  • Valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide should be used with extreme caution in CHILDREN; safety and effectiveness in children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: Valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide may cause birth defects or fetal death if you take it while you are pregnant. If you think you may be pregnant, contact your doctor right away. Valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide.

Possible side effects of valsartan/ hydrochlorothiazide:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Dizziness; headache.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing or swallowing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, throat, or tongue; unusual hoarseness); burning, numbness, or tingling; chest pain; confusion; decrease in sexual ability; decreased urination; drowsiness; eye pain; fainting; fast or irregular heartbeat; fever, chills, or persistent sore throat; hoarseness; joint pain (especially in the big toe); mental or mood changes (eg, depression); muscle pain, tenderness, or cramps; nausea and vomiting; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin; restlessness; seizures; severe or persistent dizziness or light-headedness; severe or persistent dry mouth; shortness of breath; sluggishness; swelling of the arms or legs; symptoms of liver problems (eg, dark urine, loss of appetite, pale stools, severe or persistent stomach pain, yellowing of the eyes of skin); symptoms of pancreatitis (eg, severe or persistent stomach or back pain, with or without nausea or vomiting); unusual bruising or bleeding; unusual thirst, tiredness, or weakness; unusual weight gain; vision changes (eg, decreased vision clearness).

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include fainting; fast or slow heartbeat; severe or unusual dizziness, drowsiness, or light-headedness; symptoms of blood electrolyte problems (eg, confusion; irregular heartbeat; mental or mood changes; muscle pain, weakness, or cramping; seizures; sluggishness); symptoms of dehydration (eg, decreased urination; dry mouth or eyes; fast heartbeat; unusual thirst, tiredness, or weakness).

Proper storage of valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide:

Store valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide at room temperature, between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C). Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide.

Issue Date: July 2, 2014
Database Edition 14.3.1.001
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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