Generic name: valsartan (val SAR tan)
Brand name: Diovan
Drug class: Angiotensin receptor blockers
Diovan (valsartan) is an angiotensin II receptor blocker (sometimes called an ARB). Valsartan keeps blood vessels from narrowing, which lowers blood pressure and improves blood flow.
Diovan is used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) in adults and children who are at least 1 year old. Lowering blood pressure may lower your risk of a stroke or heart attack.
Diovan is also used in adults to treat heart failure and lower your risk of needing to be hospitalized, and to lower your risk of death after a heart attack.
Do not use Diovan if you are pregnant. Stop using this medicine and tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant.
If you have diabetes, do not take Diovanwith any medication that contains aliskiren (a blood pressure medicine).
You may also need to avoid taking Diovan with aliskiren if you have kidney disease.
In rare cases, Diovan 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.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use Diovan if you are allergic to valsartan.
To make sure Diovan is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
- a heart condition other than one being treated with Diovan;
- kidney disease (or if you are on dialysis); or
- if you are on a low-salt diet.
Do not use Diovan if you are pregnant. Stop using the medicine 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 plan to get pregnant, ask your doctor for a safer medicine to use before and during pregnancy. Having high blood pressure during pregnancy may cause complications in the mother and the baby.
You should not breastfeed while using this medicine.
Diovan is not approved for use by anyone younger than 1 year old.
How should I take Diovan?
Take Diovan exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose.
Take Diovan at the same time(s) each day, with or without food.
For a child who cannot swallow a tablet whole, a pharmacist can mix the medicine into a liquid. If your child switches from Diovan tablets to liquid, the dose will not be the same.
Shake the liquid for 10 seconds before you measure a dose. Use the dosing syringe provided, or use a medicine dose-measuring device (not a kitchen spoon).
Valsartan doses are based on weight in children and/or teenagers. Your child's dose needs may change if the child gains or loses weight.
Your blood pressure will need to be checked often. Your kidney function may also need to be checked.
Call your doctor if you are sick with vomiting or diarrhea, or if you are sweating more than usual. You can easily become dehydrated while taking Diovan.
It may take 2 to 4 weeks 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. Treatment may also include diet, exercise, lowering cholesterol, not smoking, and controlling diabetes.
Store Diovan tablets or liquid at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Throw away any unused liquid after 30 days.
The liquid may be stored for up to 75 days if kept in a refrigerator.
Keep Diovan liquid in the original glass bottle, tightly closed when not in use.
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
Comments: 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 happens if I miss a dose?
Take the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not take two doses at one time.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
Overdose symptoms may include fast heartbeats or fainting.
What should I avoid while taking Diovan?
Do not use potassium supplements or salt substitutes unless your doctor has told you to.
Avoid getting up too fast from a sitting or lying position, or you may feel dizzy.
Diovan side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Diovan: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
- a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;
- little or no urination; or
- high potassium level - nausea, weakness, tingly feeling, chest pain, irregular heartbeats, loss of movement.
Common Diovan side effects may include:
- high potassium;
- headache, dizziness, feeling light-headed;
- flu symptoms, tiredness;
- stomach pain, diarrhea;
- back pain, joint pain; or
- abnormal kidney test.
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.
What other drugs will affect Diovan?
Tell your doctor about all your other medicines, especially:
- a diuretic (water pill) or other medicines that lower blood pressure; or
- 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 drug interactions are listed here.