What is VALSARTAN?
(VALSARTAN) Valsartan is used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure. It is also used to improve the chance of living longer after a heart attack. In people with heart failure, it may also lower the chance of having to go to the hospital for heart failure. Valsartan belongs to a class of drugs called angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs). It works by relaxing blood vessels so that blood can flow more easily. Lowering high blood pressure helps prevent strokes, heart attacks, and kidney problems.
How should I use VALSARTAN?
Read the Patient Information Leaflet if available from your pharmacist before you start taking valsartan and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist. Take this medication by mouth with or without food as directed by your doctor, usually once or twice daily. The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. For children, the dosage is also based on weight. If you are using the liquid form of this medication, carefully measure the dose using a special measuring device/spoon. Do not use a household spoon because you may not get the correct dose. If your liquid form is a suspension, shake the bottle well for at least 10 seconds before each dose. Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time(s) each day. Keep taking this medication even if you feel well. Most people with high blood pressure do not feel sick. Tell your doctor if you do not get better or if you get worse (for example, your blood pressure readings remain high or increase).
What should I tell my health care provider before I take VALSARTAN?
Before taking valsartan, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details. Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: liver disease, dehydration, high level of potassium in the blood. This drug may make you dizzy. Alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) can make you more dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness until you can do it safely. Limit alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana (cannabis). This medication may increase your potassium levels. Before using potassium supplements or salt substitutes that contain potassium, consult your doctor or pharmacist. Liquid products may contain sugar and/or aspartame. Caution is advised if you have diabetes, phenylketonuria (PKU), or any other condition that requires you to limit/avoid these substances in your diet. Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products). Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. You should not become pregnant while using valsartan. Valsartan may harm an unborn baby. If you become pregnant, talk to your doctor right away about the risks and benefits of this medication. (See also Warning section.) It is unknown if this drug passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
What may interact with VALSARTAN?
See also Precautions section. Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval. Some products that may interact with this drug include: aliskiren, lithium, drugs that may increase the level of potassium in the blood (such as sparsentan, ACE inhibitors including benazepril/lisinopril, birth control pills containing drospirenone). Some products have ingredients that could raise your blood pressure or worsen your heart failure. Tell your pharmacist what products you are using, and ask how to use them safely (especially cough-and-cold products, diet aids, or NSAIDs such as ibuprofen/naproxen).
What should I watch for while using VALSARTAN?
This drug can cause serious (possibly fatal) harm to an unborn baby if used during pregnancy. It is important to prevent pregnancy while taking this medication. Consult your doctor for more details and to discuss the use of reliable forms of birth control while taking this medication. If you are planning pregnancy, become pregnant, or think you may be pregnant, contact your doctor right away.
What if I miss a dose of VALSARTAN?
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose. Take your next dose at the regular time. Do not double the dose to catch up.
What side effects may I notice from receiving VALSARTAN?
Dizziness or lightheadedness may occur as your body adjusts to the medication. If any of these effects last or get worse, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly. To reduce the risk of dizziness and lightheadedness, get up slowly when rising from a sitting or lying position. Remember that this medication has been prescribed because your doctor has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects. Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: fainting, symptoms of a high potassium blood level (such as muscle weakness, slow/irregular heartbeat). Although valsartan may be used to prevent kidney problems or treat people who have kidney problems, it may also rarely cause serious kidney problems or make them worse. Your doctor will check your kidney function while you are taking valsartan. Tell your doctor right away if you have any signs of kidney problems such as a change in the amount of urine. A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing. This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist. In the US - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch. In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Where should I keep VALSARTAN?
Store this medication at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets. If you are using the suspension form of this medication, store it at room temperature for up to 30 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 75 days. Do not freeze. Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.