What are valsartan tablets?
VALSARTAN (Diovan®) helps lower blood pressure to normal levels. It controls high blood pressure, but it is not a cure. High blood pressure can damage your kidneys, and may lead to a stroke or heart failure. Valsartan helps prevent these things from happening. Generic valsartan tablets are not yet available.
What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
• previous swelling of the tongue, face, or lips with difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, hoarseness, or tightening of the throat
• heart failure
• kidney disease, specifically renal artery stenosis
• liver disease
• electrolyte imbalance (e.g. low or high levels of potassium in the blood)
• if you are on a special diet, such as a low-salt diet (e.g. using potassium substitutes)
• an unusual or allergic reaction to valsartan, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
• pregnant or trying to get pregnant
How should I take this medicine?
Take valsartan tablets by mouth. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Swallow the tablets with a drink of water. Valsartan can be taken with or without food. Take your doses at regular intervals. Do not take your medicine more often than directed.
What if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.
What drug(s) may interact with valsartan?
• blood pressure medications
• monoamine oxidase inhibitors (Azilect®, Eldepryl®, Emsam®, Marplan®, Nardil®, Parnate®, Zelapar™)
• potassium salts or potassium supplements
• water pills (especially potassium-sparing diuretics such as triamterene or amiloride)
Tell your prescriber or health care professional about all other medicines you are taking, including nonprescription medicines, nutritional supplements, or herbal products. Also tell your prescriber or health care professional if you are a frequent user of drinks with caffeine or alcohol, if you smoke, or if you use illegal drugs. These may affect the way your medicine works. Check with your health care professional before stopping or starting any of your medicines.
What side effects may I notice from taking valsartan?
Side effects that you should report to your prescriber or health care professional as soon as possible:
Rare or uncommon:
• difficulty breathing or swallowing, hoarseness, or tightening of the throat
• swelling of your face, lips, tongue, hands, or feet
• unusual rash
• decreased amount of urine passed
• confusion, dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting spells
• fast or uneven heart beat, palpitations, or chest pain
• decreased sexual function
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your prescriber or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):
• fatigue or tiredness
• nausea or stomach pain
What should I watch for while taking valsartan?
Check your blood pressure regularly while you are taking valsartan. Ask your prescriber or health care professional what your blood pressure should be and when you should contact him or her. When you check your blood pressure, write down the measurements to show your prescriber or health care professional. If you are taking this medicine for a long time you must visit your prescriber or health care professional for regular checks on your progress. Make sure you schedule appointments on a regular basis.
You may experience dizziness. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that requires mental alertness until you know how valsartan affects you. To avoid dizziness, do not stand or sit up quickly.
Avoid salt substitutes unless you are told otherwise by your prescriber or health care professional.
If you are going to have surgery tell your prescriber or health care professional that you are taking valsartan.
Women should inform their doctor if they wish to become pregnant or think they might be pregnant. There is a potential for serious side effects to an unborn child, particularly in the second or third trimester. Talk to your health care professional or pharmacist for more information.
Where can I keep my medicine?
Keep out of the reach of children and in a container that small children cannot open.
Store your medicine at room temperature between 15 and 30 degrees C (59 and 86 degrees F). Keep your medicine container tightly closed and protect it from light. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.