Valsartan can be used alone or with other medications to treat high blood pressure in adults and children aged one year or older. It is also used to treat heart failure in adults, which is a condition where the heart cannot pump enough blood to the body, and to improve survival rates after a heart attack.
Valsartan belongs to a group of medications known as angiotensin II receptor antagonists, which block the effects of certain natural substances that constrict blood vessels. This enables blood to flow more smoothly and the heart to work more effectively.
Uses and Dosage
Valsartan is available as a tablet or suspension (liquid) that can be taken orally. For high blood pressure, it is taken once a day, with or without food. For heart failure or heart attack, it is taken twice a day, with or without food. Take valsartan at the same time(s) each day to help remember. Take valsartan exactly as prescribed, without taking more or less than prescribed, or more frequently.
Before use, shake the suspension well for at least 10 seconds to ensure even mixing of the medication. Different valsartan products release medication differently in the body and should not be used interchangeably. Only take the specific valsartan product prescribed by your doctor, and do not switch without their approval. Valsartan suspension is usually prescribed for children under five or those who are unable to swallow tablets.
Your doctor may start you on a low dose of valsartan, which may be gradually increased.
While valsartan helps to manage high blood pressure and heart failure, it does not cure them. It may take up to four weeks for the full effects of valsartan to be noticed, and blood pressure may decrease during the first two weeks of treatment. Continue taking valsartan even if you feel better, and do not stop without consulting with your doctor.
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention:
- excessive tiredness
- stomach pain
- back pain
- joint pain
- blurry vision
Inform your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any serious side effects:
- swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- unexplained weight gain
Prior to taking valsartan, inform your doctor or pharmacist of any allergies you may have, including allergies to inactive ingredients which may cause an allergic reaction or other issues.
Before using this medication, discuss your medical history with your doctor or pharmacist, particularly if you have liver disease, high levels of potassium in the blood, or are dehydrated.
This medication may cause dizziness, and consuming alcohol or marijuana may increase dizziness. Until you can do so safely, avoid driving, operating machinery, or engaging in activities that require alertness.
This medication can increase your potassium levels. Consult your doctor or pharmacist before using potassium supplements or salt substitutes that contain potassium.
Liquid forms of this medication may contain sugar and/or aspartame. Exercise caution if you have diabetes, phenylketonuria (PKU), or any other condition that requires the limitation or avoidance of these substances in your diet.
Inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, as you should not become pregnant while using valsartan since it may harm an unborn baby. Contact your doctor immediately if you become pregnant and discuss the potential risks and benefits of this medication.
It is unclear whether this drug passes into breast milk. Consult with your doctor before breastfeeding.
Form and Strength
Diovan is available in the following forms and strengths:
How quickly does Diovan work?
Diovan starts to work after about 2 hours to reduce high blood pressure but it may take 2 to 4 weeks to work fully.
Does Diovan make you tired?
Diovan oral tablet doesn’t cause drowsiness.