Valsartan is a type of medication known as an angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB). It is used to reduce blood pressure, and can also be used to treat heart failure, and may also be prescribed following a heart attack.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, causes the heart and arteries to work too hard 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 action of a hormone called angiotensin II, which contributes to the constriction of blood vessels and the retention of salt and water. Blocking the action of angiotensin II helps blood vessels to relax, lowering blood pressure.
The active ingredient in valsartan tablets 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 than 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 age, condition and medical background. 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 other drugs for maximal effect. For 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 may be used. Always take the dose prescribed to you, and never increase or lower the dose unless instructed to by your prescriber.
Common side effects include:
Uncommon side effects may include:
Rare side effects may include:
Other side effects for which the frequency is not known may include:
Serious side effects are rare, however, if you experience any of the following then seek medical attention:
Do NOT take valsartan if you:
Before taking valsartan, tell your doctor if any of the following conditions apply to you:
Let your doctor know if you are taking any other medication. Particularly:
Valsartan is not recommended in 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 other ARBs e.g. 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. Beta-blockers work by both lowering your heart rate and reducing your blood pressure, while the calcium-channel blockers amlodipine, felodipine and lercanidipine work by preventing calcium from constricting your blood vessels. Diuretics alter the amount of water lost through the kidney and are sometimes taken alone or in combination with other medications.
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, whole grains and lean meats in your diet. Exercising regularly will help to keep your 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.
Treatment with valsartan is usually long-term, often for the rest of the patient’s life.