Generic Name: valsartan (val SAR tan)
Brand Name: Diovan
What is valsartan?
Valsartan is an angiotensin II receptor antagonist. Valsartan keeps blood vessels from narrowing, which lowers blood pressure and improves blood flow.
Valsartan is used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) in adults and children who are at least 6 years old. Valsartan is also used in adults to treat heart failure, and to lower the risk of death after a heart attack.
Valsartan is sometimes given together with other blood pressure medications.
Valsartan may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What is the most important information I should know about valsartan?
Do not use if you are pregnant. Stop using and tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant. Valsartan can cause injury or death to the unborn baby if you take the medicine during your second or third trimester.
If you have diabetes, do not use valsartan together with any medication that contains aliskiren (Amturnide, Tekturna, Tekamlo, Valturna).
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking valsartan?
You should not use valsartan if you are allergic to it.
To make sure valsartan is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
kidney disease (or if you are on dialysis);
if you are on a low-salt-diet;
if you are dehydrated; or
if you have ever had a severe allergic reaction to any blood pressure medication.
FDA pregnancy category D. Do not use if you are pregnant. Stop using and tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant. Valsartan can cause injury or death to the unborn baby if you take the medicine during your second or third trimester. Use effective birth control.
It is not known whether valsartan passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.
Valsartan should not be given to a child younger than 6 years old.
How should I take valsartan?
Follow all directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
You may take valsartan with or without food. Take the medicine at the same time each day.
If a child taking valsartan cannot swallow a capsule whole, your pharmacist can mix the medicine into a liquid. Shake this liquid well just before you measure a dose. Measure the liquid with a special dose-measuring spoon or medicine cup, not with a regular table spoon. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.
You may have very low blood pressure while taking valsartan. Call your doctor if you are sick with vomiting or diarrhea, or if you are sweating more than usual.
Your blood pressure will need to be checked often. Your kidney function may also need to be checked.
It may take 2 to 4 weeks of using this medicine before your blood pressure is under control. Keep using this medicine as directed, even if you feel well. High blood pressure often has no symptoms. You may need to use blood pressure medicine for the rest of your life.
Talk with your doctor if your symptoms do not improve after 4 weeks of treatment.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while taking valsartan?
Drinking alcohol can further lower your blood pressure and may increase certain side effects of valsartan.
Do not use potassium supplements or salt substitutes while you are taking valsartan, unless your doctor has told you to.
Avoid getting up too fast from a sitting or lying position, or you may feel dizzy. Get up slowly and steady yourself to prevent a fall.
Valsartan side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
In rare cases, valsartan can cause a condition that results in the breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue, leading to kidney failure. Call your doctor right away if you have unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness especially if you also have fever, unusual tiredness, and dark colored urine.
Also call your doctor at once if you have:
shortness of breath (even with mild exertion);
little or no urinating, swelling, rapid weight gain;
weakness, confusion, increased thirst, loss of appetite, vomiting;
pounding heartbeats or fluttering in your chest;
a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out; or
high potassium--slow heart rate, weak pulse, muscle weakness, tingly feeling.
Common side effects may include:
headache, dizziness, tired feeling;
stomach pain, diarrhea;
back pain, joint pain; or
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
Valsartan dosing information
Usual Adult Dose for Congestive Heart Failure:
Initial dose: 40 mg orally twice a day
Maintenance dose: 80 to 160 mg twice a day. The dose should be increased to the highest dose tolerated by the patient.
Usual Adult Dose for Hypertension:
Initial dose: 80 to 160 mg orally once a day.
Maintenance dose: 80 to 320 mg orally once a day
Usual Adult Dose for Myocardial Infarction:
Initial dose: 20 mg orally twice a day
Maintenance dose: The initial dosage may be titrated upward within 7 days to 40 mg twice daily, with subsequent titrations to a target maintenance dose of 160 mg twice a day as tolerated by the patient. If symptomatic hypotension or renal dysfunction occurs, consideration should be given to a dosage reduction.
Comment: Valsartan may be initiated as early as 12 hours after a myocardial infarction, and may be given with other standard postmyocardial infarction treatment, including thrombolytics, aspirin, beta blockers, and statins.
Usual Pediatric Dose for Hypertension:
6 to 16 years:
Initial dose: 1.3 mg/kg once a day (up to 40 mg)
Maintenance dose: up to 2.7 mg/kg (up to 160 mg) once a day titrated according to patient response
-If the calculated dosage does not correspond to the available tablet strengths, or if children are unable to swallow tablets, the use of a suspension (which can be prepared from the tablets) is recommended. The valsartan dose may need to be increased if the suspension is replaced by a tablet.
-No data are available in pediatric patients either undergoing dialysis or with a glomerular filtration rate less than 30 mL/min.
What other drugs will affect valsartan?
Tell your doctor about all medicines you use, and those you start or stop using during your treatment with valsartan, especially:
a diuretic (water pill);
NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)--aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), celecoxib, diclofenac, indomethacin, meloxicam, and others.
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with valsartan, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.
More about valsartan
- Other brands: Diovan
Related treatment guides
Where can I get more information?
- Your pharmacist can provide more information about valsartan.
- Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
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