Diovan

Generic Name: Valsartan

  • What is this medication and its most common uses?

    Diovan is a medicine known as an angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB), used alone or in combination with other medications to treat high blood pressure. Diovan is also used to treat heart failure, or to lower the risk of death from heart problems in people who have had a heart attack.

  • What should I know when beginning and continuing on this medication?

    How does this medication work?

    Diovan lowers high blood pressure by blocking a chemical in your body that causes blood vessels to narrow. By blocking this chemical, Diovan relaxes and widens your blood vessels, allowing your blood to flow through with less resistance.

    What are the beneficial effects of this medication and when should I begin to have results?

    What:

    High Blood Pressure: By lowering your blood pressure, Diovan may lower your risk of a stroke or a heart attack.

    Heart Failure: Diovan is proven to lower the need for hospitalization from heart failure.

    After a Heart Attack: Diovan is proven to reduce the chance of death after a heart attack in people who have certain types of heart problems.

    When: Diovan may start lowering your blood pressure within 2 weeks. Though you may not feel an improvement or change in the way you feel, it is very important to keep taking your medicine as prescribed to keep your condition under control.

    How do I know it is working?

    Check your blood pressure regularly. Your healthcare provider will also check your blood pressure at every visit. Following an appropriate diet and exercise plan will also affect your blood pressure results.

  • What are the possible side effects of this medication?

    The following is not a full list of side effects. Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Only your healthcare provider can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this medication.

    Diovan can harm your unborn baby. Talk to your healthcare provider about other ways to lower your blood pressure if you plan to become pregnant. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you become pregnant while taking Diovan.

    High Blood Pressure

    More common side effects may include: headache, dizziness, flu-like symptoms, tiredness, abdominal (stomach area) pain.

    Heart Failure

    More common side effects may include: dizziness, low blood pressure, diarrhea, joint or back pain, tiredness, increased blood potassium levels.

    After a Heart Attack

    More common side effects may include: low blood pressure, cough, decreased kidney function.

    Low blood pressure is most likely to happen if you also take water pills, are on a low-salt diet, get dialysis treatment, have heart problems, or get sick with vomiting or diarrhea. If you feel faint or dizzy, lie down and call your healthcare provider right away.

    Less common side effects of Diovan may include:

    Kidney problems with symptoms such as swelling in your feet, ankles, or hands; or unexplained weight gain.

  • Who should not take this medication?

    Do not take Diovan if you are allergic to it or any of its ingredients.

    If you are diabetic, do not take Diovan in combination with aliskiren.

  • What should I tell my healthcare provider before I take the first dose of this medication?

    Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Diovan. Also, talk to your healthcare provider about your complete medical history, especially if you have diabetes; kidney, liver, or heart problems; or if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What is the usual dosage?

    The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your healthcare provider uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your healthcare provider may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your healthcare provider's approval.

    High Blood Pressure

    Adults: The recommended starting dose is 80 milligrams (mg) or 160 mg once a day.

    Children 6-16 years: Your healthcare provider may prescribe the appropriate dose for your child, based on his/her weight.

    Heart Failure

    Adults: The recommended starting dose is 40 mg twice a day.

    After a Heart Attack

    Adults: The recommended starting dose is 20 mg twice a day. Your healthcare provider may increase your dose as needed until the desired effect is achieved.

  • How should I take this medication?

    Take Diovan exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not change your dose or stop taking Diovan without first talking to your healthcare provider.

    Take Diovan at the same time every day, with or without food.

    If your child cannot swallow tablets, or if tablets are not available in the prescribed strength, your pharmacist will prepare a liquid suspension using Diovan tablets. Shake the bottle well for at least 10 seconds before giving the medicine to your child.

  • What should I avoid while taking this medication?

    Do not become pregnant while taking this medication.

    Do not take potassium supplements or salt substitutes that contain potassium without first talking to your healthcare provider.

  • What are the possible food and drug interactions associated with this medication?

    If Diovan is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your healthcare provider before combining Diovan with the following: aliskiren, blood pressure/heart medications known as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors (such as captopril or lisinopril), certain water pills (such as amiloride, spironolactone, or triamterene), cyclosporine, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (such as ibuprofen or naproxen), potassium supplements, rifampin, ritonavir, or salt substitutes that contain potassium.

  • May I receive this medication if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    Do not take Diovan if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Diovan can harm your unborn baby. Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of this medication?

    If you miss a dose of Diovan, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and return to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take two doses at once.

  • How should I store this medication?

    Store at room temperature. Protect from moisture.

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