Valsartan Side Effects

Some side effects of valsartan may not be reported. Always consult your doctor or healthcare specialist for medical advice. You may also report side effects to the FDA.

For the Consumer

Applies to valsartan: oral capsule, oral tablet

Along with its needed effects, valsartan may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking valsartan:

Less common
  • Bloody urine
  • cold sweats
  • confusion
  • decreased frequency or amount of urine
  • difficult breathing
  • dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up from a lying position
  • fainting
  • increased thirst
  • irregular heartbeat
  • loss of appetite
  • lower back or side pain
  • nausea
  • nervousness
  • numbness or tingling in the hands, feet, or lips
  • swelling of the face, fingers, or lower legs
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • vomiting
  • weight gain
  • Chills
  • fever
  • hoarseness
  • sore throat
  • swelling of the mouth, hands, or feet
  • trouble with swallowing or breathing (sudden)
Incidence not known
  • Dark urine
  • general tiredness and weakness
  • light-colored stools
  • upper right abdominal or stomach pain
  • yellow eyes and skin

Some side effects of valsartan may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

Less common
  • Abdominal or stomach pain
  • back pain
  • blurred vision
  • cold or flu-like symptoms
  • coughing
  • diarrhea
  • difficulty with moving
  • headache
  • muscle pain or stiffness
  • pain, swelling, or redness in the joints
Incidence not known
  • Hair loss
  • thinning of the hair

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to valsartan: oral capsule, oral tablet


Valsartan is generally well-tolerated. The overall incidence of side effects was similar to placebo in controlled trials. The incidence of discontinuation of therapy due to side effects was also similar in treated versus placebo patients, averaging 2.3% and 2% respectively. Side effects were neither dose-related nor related to gender, age, race, or regimen.

Nervous system

Nervous system side effects have been dose-related and have reportedly been the most common reasons for discontinuation of therapy. Headaches and dizziness have been reported in 8% to 10% and 3% to 14% of patients, respectively, depending on dose. Dose-related orthostatic effects, including dizziness, were observed in 8% of patients who received 320 mg compared with 2% to 4% of patients who received 10 to 60 mg. Other related side effects include vertigo in less than 1% of patients.


Angiotensin II receptor blockade, unlike ACE inhibition, has no impact on the processing of peptides such as bradykinin and substance P, two peptides able to induce cough.

Respiratory side effects have included cough and dyspnea. In contrast to angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, the incidence of cough associated with valsartan is similar to placebo. The incidence of cough among ACE inhibitor, valsartan, and placebo-treated patients averaged 7.9%, 2.6%, and 1.5%, respectively. Dyspnea has been reported in less than 1% of patients.


Hypersensitivity reactions have rarely included angioedema.

A 71-year-old woman experienced an acute onset of angioedema and a photosensitive pruritic rash after 3 months of valsartan therapy. Her symptoms dissipated and the rash resolved after treatment with subcutaneous epinephrine, intravenous methylprednisolone, diphenhydramine, and emollient cream.

A unique case of dose-dependent, valsartan-induced angioedema has been reported. Two hours after initiating a dose increase (160 to 320 mg/day) of valsartan, a patient developed angioedema (i.e., swelling of lips and tongue). Symptoms resolved following a reduction in dose to the original dosage of 160 mg/day.


Cardiovascular side effects have included dizziness related to orthostatic hypotension and (rarely) palpitations, and chest pain. When used in the treatment of hypertension, it is recommended that this drug be administered after volume repletion, if necessary, to avoid symptomatic hypotension.

Postmarketing cardiovascular side effects have included heart failure.

Symptomatic hypotension has been reported in 5.5% of heart failure patients in clinical trials.


Metabolic side effects have included hyperkalemia (greater than 20% increases in baseline serum potassium due to minor inhibition of aldosterone secretion) and were reported in 4.4% of patients compared with 2.9% of patients treated with placebo. No other metabolic side effects have been reported. Use in hypertensive patients has not been associated with significant effects on total cholesterol, fasting triglycerides, fasting serum glucose, or uric acid.


Renal side effects have included impaired renal function, increases in serum creatinine concentrations, blood urea nitrogen, and potassium. Postmarketing renal side effects have included renal failure.

In multiple-dose studies in hypertensive patients with stable renal insufficiency and renovascular hypertension, valsartan had no clinically significant effects on glomerular filtration rate, filtration fraction, creatinine clearance, or renal plasma flow.


Dermatologic side effects have rarely been reported and include pruritus, rash and alopecia. Valsartan has been implicated in a case report of de novo development of psoriasis.


Gastrointestinal side effects have rarely been reported and include diarrhea, constipation, dry mouth, dyspepsia, anorexia, nausea, vomiting, or flatulence in 0.1% to 5% of patients. Taste disturbance (i.e., altered sensitivity of basic tastes) has also been reported following repeated dosing.


Musculoskeletal complaints have been reported in 1% to 6% of patients, and include back pain, muscle cramps, and myalgias. In addition, rare reports of rhabdomyolysis have been reported during postmarketing experience in patients receiving angiotensin II receptor blockers.


Psychiatric side effects have been reported but causality has not been determined, including anxiety, insomnia, paresthesias, and somnolence.


Genitourinary side effects have included rare reports of impotence, but causality has not been established.


Hematologic side effects have been rarely reported. Greater than 20% decreases in hematocrit or hemoglobin have been observed in only 0.8% and 0.4% of patients, respectively. Neutropenia was observed in 1.9% of treated patients and 0.8% of patients treated with placebo in controlled trials. Thrombocytopenia has been reported rarely during postmarketing experience.

Hematologic side effects reported postmarketing have included vasculitis.


Valsartan-associated hepatotoxicity in a patient with hepatitis B surface antigen (HBs-Ag) positivity (without signs and symptoms) has been reported. After 1 month of treatment with valsartan, this patient developed pruritic erythematous skin changes, nausea, jaundice, right subcostal abdominal pain, elevated liver enzymes, and mild hepatomegaly. Signs and symptoms of hepatotoxicity resolved within 2 to 3 weeks following discontinuation of valsartan and the patient remained asymptomatic after 6 months of follow-up.

Hepatic side effects have included occasional reports of reversible, greater than 150% increases in hepatic enzymes. Less than 0.1% of patients from large-scale controlled trials discontinued therapy due to increased liver function tests. Hepatitis has been reported rarely.

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