Valsartan is used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure, and may also be prescribed following a heart attack. It is a type of medication known as an angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB).
High blood pressure, or hypertension, causes the heart and arteries to work too heart to pump blood around the body, which can lead to damaged vessels in the brain, heart and kidneys, heart failure, stroke or kidney failure. ARBs like Valsartan work by blocking the reception of angiotensin II, a hormone in the body which contributes to the narrowing of blood vessels and the retention of salt and water. Blocking angiotensin II helps blood vessels to relax, lowering blood pressure.
The active ingredient is Valsartan is valsartan.
The inactive ingredients in Valsartan are cellulose microcrystalline, silica colloidal anhydrous, crospovidone (Type-B), povidone (K 30), sodium lauryl sulphate, magnesium stearate, iron oxide black (E172), titanium dioxide (E171), gelatin, sodium lauryl sulfate, shellac (E904) propylene glycol, black iron oxide,titanium dioxide, and potassium hydroxide.
Please Note: Different manufacturers of generic Valsartan might use different inactive ingredients in their drugs that those listed above.
Always take Valsartan as instructed by a doctor or pharmacist. Valsartan tablets should be swallowed with a small glass of water at around the same time each day, with or without food. If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember unless it is almost time for your next dose. In this case, just take the next dose at the normal time. Never take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
Your dosage will be decided by a doctor depending on your conditions and severity of your symptoms. The recommended dose for treating high blood pressure in adults is 80 mg taken once daily, although a doctor may prescribe a higher dose of 160 mg or 320 mg, or combine Valsartan with a diuretic. For adult patients with heart failure, the recommended starting dose is 40 mg taken twice daily, which can be increased gradually to a maximum of 160 mg twice daily. For treating patients after a recent heart attack, a low dose of 20 mg twice daily is usually administered as soon as 12 hours after. This dose can be gradually increased over time to a maximum of 160 mg twice daily.
Like all medications, Valsartan can cause side effects in some people. If you experience signs of a severe allergic reaction (swollen face, lips, tongue or throat, difficulty breathing or swallowing, hives and itching) stop taking Valsartan and seek medical help immediately.
The following common side effects can affect up to 1 in 10 people:
Uncommon side effects (affecting up to 1 in 100 people) include:
The following side effects have been reported, although their frequency is not known:
Do NOT take Valsartan if:
If any of the following apply to you, speak to a doctor before taking Valsartan:
Before taking Valsartan, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking any other medications, including those purchased over the counter without a prescription. In particular, tell your doctor if you are taking any of the following:
For treatment following a heart attack, a combination of Valsartan with ACE inhibitors is not recommended. For treatment of heart failure, a triple combination of Valsartan, ACE inhibitors and beta blockers is not recommended.
Valsartan is not recommended in early pregnancy, and must not be taken after the 3rd month of pregnancy. Tell your doctor immediately if you think you are pregnant or are planning on becoming pregnant.
Drinking alcohol can increase the blood pressure-lowering effect of Valsartan. If you experience dizziness or lightheadedness while taking this medication, it is best not to drink alcohol at all.
There are many different types of high blood pressure medication, including the other ARBs Losartan and Candesartan. A doctor will be able to decide which is best for you based on your condition, age and symptoms. Alternative treatments include angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, which work in a similar way to ARBs. However, both of these options are thought to be less effective in patients over the age of 55 or of Afro-Caribbean descent, in which cases a different alternative might be preferable. Beta-blockers work by blocking the angiotensin II hormone and by lowering your heart rate, while the calcium-channel blockers Amlodipine, Felodipine and Lercanidipine work by preventing calcium from causing blood vessels to constrict. Diuretics aid the relaxing of blood vessels and are sometimes taken in combination with the ACE inhibitor Enalapril.
Valsartan itself does not require you to make any changes to your life, but a few simple lifestyle changes can help to reduce blood pressure and improve your overall wellbeing. A major cause of high blood pressure is a high salt intake, so try to limit the amount of salt in your diet to below the recommended maximum of 6g per day. Cut back on fatty foods and try to include plenty of fruit and vegetables, wholegrains and lean meats in your diet. Exercising regularly will help to keep you heart and blood vessels in good condition, and can also contribute to reducing stress. Stress is another cause of high blood pressure, so try and avoid it by spending time with friends and family, taking daily walks and finding the time to relax where possible. Limit the amount of alcohol you drink to the recommended maximum of 14 units per week and, if you haven’t already done so, quit smoking.