Valsartan

Valsartan treats high blood pressure. This medication should not be used during pregnancy. Avoid salt substitutes containing potassium.

Valsartan Overview

Reviewed: September 7, 2012
Updated: 

Valsartan is a prescription medication used to treat high blood pressure in adults and children, to treat heart failure in adults, and to improve the chance of living after a heart attack in adults. Valsartan belongs to a group of drugs called angiotensin II receptor antagonists, which help blood vessels to relax.

This medication comes in tablet form and is usually taken once or twice a day. Valsartan can be taken with or without food.

Common side effects of valsartan include headache, diarrhea, cough, and dizziness. Do not drive or operate machinery until you know how valsartan will affect you. 

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  • Diabetic Nephropathies
  • Heart Failure
  • Hypertension
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Valsartan Cautionary Labels

precautionsprecautionsprecautionsprecautionsprecautions

Uses of Valsartan

Valsartan is a prescription medicine used in adults to:

  • lower high blood pressure (hypertension) in adults and children, 6 to 16 years of age
  • treat heart failure in adults
  • improve the chance of living longer after a heart attack in adults

This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Valsartan Brand Names

Valsartan may be found in some form under the following brand names:

Valsartan Drug Class

Valsartan is part of the drug class:

Side Effects of Valsartan

Valsartan may cause the following serious side effects:

Injury or death to an unborn baby. See “Drug Precautions”.

Low Blood Pressure (Hypotension). Low blood pressure is most likely to happen if you also take water pills, are on a low-salt diet, get dialysis treatments, have heart problems, or get sick with vomiting or diarrhea. Lie down, if you feel faint or dizzy. Call your doctor right away.

Kidney problems. Kidney problems may get worse if you already have kidney disease. Some patients will have changes on blood tests for kidney function and may need a lower dose of valsartan. Call your doctor if you get swelling in your feet, ankles, or hands, or unexplained weight gain. If you have heart failure, your doctor should check your kidney function before prescribing valsartan.

The most common side effects of valsartan used to treat people with high blood pressure include:

  • headache
  • dizziness
  • flu symptoms
  • tiredness
  • stomach (abdominal) pain

Side effects were generally mild and brief. They generally have not caused patients to stop taking valsartan.

The most common side effects of valsartan used to treat people with heart failure include:

  • dizziness
  • low blood pressure
  • diarrhea
  • joint and back pain
  • tiredness
  • high blood potassium

Common side effects of valsartan used to treat people after a heart attack which caused them to stop taking the drug include:

  • low blood pressure
  • cough
  • high blood creatinine (decreased kidney function)
  • rash

Tell your doctor if you get any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.

These are not all the possible side effects of valsartan. For a complete list, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Valsartan Interactions

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins and herbal supplements. Especially tell your doctor if you take:

  • other medicines for high blood pressure or a heart problem
  • water pills (also called “diuretics”)
  • potassium supplements. Your doctor may check the amount of potassium in your blood periodically
  • a salt substitute. Your doctor may check the amount of potassium in your blood periodically
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (like ibuprofen or naproxen)
  • certain antibiotics (rifamycin group), a drug used to protect against transplant rejection (cyclosporin) or an antiretroviral drug used to treat HIV/AIDS infection (ritonavir). These drugs may increase the effect of valsartan.

Know the medicines you take. Keep a list of your medicines with you to show to your doctor and pharmacist when a new medicine is prescribed. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before you start taking any new medicine. Your doctor or pharmacist will know what medicines are safe to take together.

In addition this medication shouldn't be taken in combination with other ARBs, ACE-Inhibitors, and aliskiren.  If you are unsure if you are taking any of these medications, consult your physician or pharmacist.

Valsartan Precautions

Do not take valsartan if you have diabetes and are currently taking aliskiren.  This combination is associated serious side effects.

Valsartan can cause harm or death to an unborn baby. Talk to your doctor about other ways to lower your blood pressure if you plan to become pregnant. If you get pregnant while taking valsartan, tell your doctor right away.

Valsartan can cause dizziness. Do not drive or operate machinery until you know how valsartan will affect you.

Inform MD

Tell your doctor about all your medical conditions including whether you:

  • have any allergies
  • have a heart condition
  • have diabetes
  • have liver problems
  • have kidney problems
  • are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. See “Drug Precautions” and FDA Warning.
  • are breastfeeding. It is not known if valsartan passes into your breast milk. You and your doctor should decide if you will take valsartan or breastfeed, but not both. Talk with your doctor about the best way to feed your baby if you take valsartan.
  • have ever had a reaction called angioedema, to another blood pressure medicine. Angioedema causes swelling of the face, lips, tongue and/or throat, and may cause difficulty breathing.

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins and herbal supplements.

Valsartan and Pregnancy

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

The FDA categorizes medications based on safety for use during pregnancy. Five categories - A, B, C, D, and X, are used to classify the possible risks to an unborn baby when a medication is taken during pregnancy.

This medication falls into category D. Valsartan can cause harm or death to an unborn baby. Talk to your doctor about other ways to lower your blood pressure if you plan to become pregnant. If you get pregnant while taking valsartan, tell your doctor right away. See FDA Warning.

 

Valsartan and Lactation

Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding. It is not known if valsartan passes into your breast milk. You and your doctor should decide if you will take valsartan or breastfeed, but not both. Talk with your doctor about the best way to feed your baby if you take valsartan.

Valsartan Usage

  • Take valsartan exactly as prescribed by your doctor.
  • For treatment of high blood pressure, take valsartan one time each day, at the same time each day.
  • If your child cannot swallow tablets, or if tablets are not available in the prescribed strength, your pharmacist will mix valsartan as a liquid suspension for your child. If your child switches between taking the tablet and the suspension, your doctor will adjust the dose as needed. Shake the bottle of suspension well for at least 10 seconds before pouring the dose of medicine to give to your child.
  • For adult patients with heart failure or who have had a heart attack, take valsartan two times each day, at the same time each day. Your doctor may start you on a low dose of valsartan and may increase the dose during your treatment.
  • Valsartan can be taken with or without food.
  • If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is close to your next dose, do not take the missed dose. Take the next dose at your regular time.
  • If you take too much valsartan, call your doctor or Poison Control Center, or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.

Valsartan Dosage

Take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully.

The dose your doctor recommends may be based on the following:

  • the condition being treated
  • other medical conditions you have
  • other medications you are taking
  • how you respond to this medication
  • your weight (children)
  • your age

Hypertension

The recommended dose range of valsartan in adults is 80 mg to 320 mg daily, administered once a day.

The recommended dose range of valsartan in pediatrics 6 to 16 years of age is 1.3 mg/kg once daily to a maximum of 2.7 mg/kg (up to 160 mg) once daily.

Heart Failure

The recommended dose range of valsartan is 40 mg twice daily to a maximum daily dose of 320 mg in divided doses.

Post-Myocardial Infarction

The recommended dose of valsartan is 160 mg twice daily.

Valsartan Overdose

If you take too much of this medication, call your healthcare provider or local Poison Control Center, or seek emergency medical attention right away.

If this medication is administered by a healthcare provider in a medical setting, it is unlikely that an overdose will occur. However, if overdose is suspected, seek emergency medical attention.

Other Requirements

  • Store valsartan tablets at room temperature between 59º to 86ºF (15ºC - 30ºC).
  • Keep valsartan tablets in a closed container in a dry place.
  • Store bottles of valsartan suspension at room temperature less than 86ºF (30ºC) for up to 30 days, or refrigerate between 35ºF - 46ºF (2ºC - 8ºC) for up to 75 days.
  • Keep valsartan and all medicines out of the reach of children.

Valsartan FDA Warning

WARNING: FETAL TOXICITY

  •  When pregnancy is detected, discontinue valsartan as soon as possible. 
  •  Drugs that act directly on the renin-angiotensin system can cause injury and death to the developing fetus.