Generic Name: valsartan (val-SAR-tan)
Brand Name: Diovan
Valsartan may cause injury or death to the fetus if used during pregnancy. 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 is used for:
Treating high blood pressure alone or with other medicines. It is used to treat heart failure. It is used in certain patients to decrease the risk of death after a heart attack. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.
Valsartan is an angiotensin II receptor blocker. It works by relaxing the blood vessels. This helps to lower blood pressure.
Do NOT use valsartan if:
- you are allergic to any ingredient in valsartan
- you are pregnant
- the patient is a child who has severe kidney problems or is on dialysis
- you are also taking aliskiren and you have either diabetes or kidney problems
Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.
Before using valsartan:
Some medical conditions may interact with valsartan. 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; difficulty swallowing or breathing; hoarseness), including angioedema caused by treatment with another angiotensin II receptor blocker (eg, losartan) or an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor (eg, lisinopril)
- if you have a history of heart problems (eg, heart failure), blood vessel problems, blood flow problems, liver or kidney problems, diabetes, or gallbladder problems
- if you have a history of stroke or recent heart attack
- if you are dehydrated or have low blood volume
- if you have electrolyte problems (eg, high blood potassium levels, low blood sodium levels) or are on a low-salt (sodium) diet
- if you are on dialysis
- if you take another medicine for blood pressure or heart problems
Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with valsartan. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:
- Diuretics (eg, furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide) because the risk of low blood pressure may be increased
- Potassium-sparing diuretics (eg, amiloride, spironolactone, triamterene) 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
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (eg, ibuprofen, naproxen, celecoxib) because they may decrease valsartans effectiveness, and the risk of serious kidney problems may be increased
- Cyclosporine, rifamycins (eg, rifampin), or ritonavir because they may increase the risk of valsartan's side effects
- Lithium because the risk of its side effects may be increased by valsartan
This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if valsartan 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:
Use valsartan as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.
- An extra patient leaflet is available with valsartan. Talk to your pharmacist if you have questions about this information.
- Take valsartan by mouth with or without food.
- If you cannot swallow tablets, ask your doctor or pharmacist about preparing a suspension of valsartan.
- Take valsartan on a regular schedule to get the most benefit from it. Taking valsartan at the same time each day will help you remember to take it.
- Continue to take valsartan even if you feel well. Do not miss any doses.
- If you miss a dose of valsartan, 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.
Important safety information:
- Valsartan may cause drowsiness, dizziness, or blurred vision. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use valsartan with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
- Valsartan 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.
- It may take up to 2 weeks or more for valsartan to work fully. Do not stop using valsartan or change your dose of valsartan without checking with your doctor.
- Valsartan may cause a serious side effect called angioedema. Contact your doctor at once if you develop swelling of the hands, face, lips, eyes, throat, or tongue; difficulty swallowing or breathing; or hoarseness.
- Valsartan may not work as well in black patients. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.
- Dehydration, excessive sweating, vomiting, or diarrhea may increase the risk of low blood pressure. Contact your health care provider at once if any of these occur.
- Check with your doctor before you use a salt substitute or a product that has potassium in it.
- Tell your doctor or dentist that you take valsartan before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
- 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.
- 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.
- Lab tests, including blood pressure, blood electrolyte levels, heart function, and kidney function, may be performed while you use valsartan. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
- Valsartan should not be used in CHILDREN younger than 6 years old; safety in these children has not been confirmed.
- PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: Valsartan 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. It is not known if valsartan is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking valsartan.
Possible side effects of valsartan:
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:
Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:
Cough; diarrhea; dizziness; headache; joint or back pain; mild stomach pain; tiredness.
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); blurred vision; burning, numbness, or tingling; change in the amount of urine produced; chest pain; difficulty swallowing; fainting; irregular heartbeat; muscle pain, weakness, or cramps; shortness of breath; sudden, unexplained weight gain; swelling of the hands, ankles, or feet; symptoms of liver problems (eg, dark urine, loss of appetite, pale stools, severe or persistent stomach pain, yellowing of the eyes or skin); symptoms of low blood pressure (eg, fainting, light-headedness, severe dizziness); unusual bruising or bleeding.
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 dizziness or light-headedness.Proper storage of valsartan:
Store valsartan 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. If your pharmacist prepares a suspension of valsartan, store as directed by your pharmacist. Keep valsartan out of the reach of children and away from pets.
- If you have any questions about valsartan, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- Valsartan 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 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. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to valsartan. 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.
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.