In this session, we will be discussing the consumer medication information for valsartan, trade name DiovanTM.
What it’s for & How to take
Valsartan relaxes pressure on your blood vessels. This medication is used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure. Valsartan also is used to help your heart pump better after a heart attack.
Valsartan is in a category of medications called ARB’s. ARB stands for angiotensin receptor blocker.
If high blood pressure is not treated, your blood vessels will harden, and this will eventually lead to a heart attack or a stroke. High blood pressure may also cause vision problems, kidney failure and eventually heart failure.
Valsartan is usually taken once or twice daily. You may take this medication with or without food. Take valsartan at the same time each day with a full glass of water.
If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of your next dose, skip it and continue with your normal dose time. Do not take a double dose to make up the missed dose.
Keep using this medication, even if you don’t feel sick. You may need to treat your high blood pressure for many years.
Your blood pressure should be checked often to make sure the medication is working correctly.
You may need to have regular blood tests done at the lab while taking this medication. These are done to see if you tolerate this medication.
Most Important Warnings
- Do not take this medication if you are pregnant. If you are currently taking this medication and think you might be pregnant, contact your doctor right away. Valsartan may cause serious harm to an unborn baby. Talk with your doctor about the risk and the best way for you to prevent pregnancy.
Other Warnings & Cautions
- This medication may cause your potassium level to increase. Talk with your doctor before using any potassium supplements or salt substitutes.
- Blood pressure medication may make you feel light-headed or dizzy. Take it slow when you go from a sitting to standing position. Balance yourself to make sure you are stable before taking a step.
- If you become dehydrated from excessive sweating, vomiting or diarrhea, you are more likely to feel the dizziness and light headedness from this medication.
- The elderly may be more sensitive to the side effects of this medication, especially the drowsiness and dizziness. The chance of loss of balance and falling are increased.
- If you are pregnant, do not take this medication because it may cause harm to an unborn baby. Let your doctor know if you are breastfeeding before taking this medication.
- This medication may make you dizzy, drowsy, or blur your vision. Do not drive or do any activity that requires focus and attention until you are sure you can do them safely. Limit alcoholic beverages while taking valsartan.
Interactions & Side Effects
- Tell your pharmacist or doctor all your medication allergies so they may determine if valsartan is safe for you to take.
- Avoid dangerous drug interactions. Tell your pharmacist or doctor all the other medication you are taking, including over the counter supplements, even if you don’t take them very often.
- Ask your doctor if this medication is safe to take with your current health conditions. Tell your doctor if you have any liver or kidney disease, asthma, diabetes or heart problems.
- While taking this medication, you may feel some drowsiness, dizziness or a headache. If these or any other unwanted side effects persist, contact your doctor or pharmacist to talk about it with them.
- Call your doctor right away if you feel lightheaded, have a slow heart rate, muscle weakness, severe cold or flu symptoms, or have little or no urination.
- Call emergency 911 if you have any symptoms of a heart attack such as chest and left arm pain, shortness of breath and sweating or if you have symptoms of a stroke such as weakness on one side of your body, slurred speech, sudden vision changes, and confusion.
If you have any questions about what you have heard, contact your pharmacist or doctor. This session does not include all the potential interactions or side effects that this medication may cause. Ask your pharmacist how your medication should be stored and how you should dispose of it when you are done taking it. Do not share your medication with anyone, ever. Remember, this is not meant to replace your counseling session with your pharmacist. In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.