Valsartan

Valsartan is a blood pressure reducer. It relaxes the muscles around the blood vessels, causing the blood vessels to widen. This means there is more space and less resistance in these blood vessels. More information

A doctor will review your order and write you a prescription, if appropriate. This prescription is then forwarded to a pharmacy. The pharmacy will have your medicine delivered to you within one to three working days. Read more about this process here.

Valsartan reduces high blood pressure. The active ingredient valsartan is a type of medicine called an angiotensin II receptor antagonist, also referred to as an angiotensin II blocker. Valsartan causes the peripheral blood vessels to widen, which lowers the pressure in the blood vessels. 

What is Valsartan? 

Valsartan is a blood pressure reducer. It relaxes the muscles around the blood vessels, causing the blood vessels to widen. This means there is more space and less resistance in these blood vessels. As a result, the pressure in the blood vessels is lowered. 

When is Valsartan used? 

Valsartan primarily prescribed to treat the following conditions: 

  • High blood pressure. Most people with high blood pressure will not experience any symptoms. Nevertheless, having uncontrolled high blood pressure can be dangerous. When blood pressure is elevated it can thicken and narrow blood flow and damage the arteries, increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Valsartan is used to lower the blood pressure and thus reduces these health risks. 
  • Heart failure. Heart failure means that the heart is unable to pump blood around the body properly. This can lead to various symptoms, including shortness of breath, fatigue and an increase in lung fluid. Valsartan Improves the condition of the heart and lowers blood pressure. As a result, heart function will improve. 
  • Poorly functioning heart. Valsartan is also used to treat adults with a poorly functioning heart as result of a recent heart attack in which part of the heart muscle dies. Valsartan helps the heart to pump the blood around the body and so reduces the chance of additional heart problems caused by a heart attack. 

How is Valsartan used? 

This medicine should be taken as directed by the doctor or according to the instructions in the package leaflet. The general guidelines for use are as follows: 

  • Valsartan tablets should be taken with water. 
  • The tablets should preferably be taken at set times to avoid missing a dose. 
  • Dizziness may occasionally occur during treatment. Taking the tablet before bedtime may help to relieve this side effect. 
  • Do not drive or operate machinery until you know how this medicine affects you and you are sure you can do so safely. 
  • If you have forgotten to take a dose of Valsartan, you may take it as soon as you remember unless it is almost time for your next scheduled dose.  

For more information on use, see the package leaflet. 

What doses are available? 

Valsartan is available in tablets of 40 mg, 80 mg, 160 mg and 320 mg. The doctor will recommend the right strength for you depending on your symptoms. The general recommended dose is: 

  • Adults with high blood pressure: one 80-mg tablet, once daily. If necessary, the doctor may increase this dose after a few weeks to 160 mg, once daily. The maximum daily dose is 320 mg. 
  • Children aged 6 to 18 years with high blood pressure: 40 mg once daily (body weight up to 35 kg) or 80 mg once daily (body weight of 35 kg and over). 
  • Adults with heart failure: one 40-mg tablet twice daily. The doctor may gradually increase this to a maximum dose of 160 mg twice daily. 
  • Adults who have had a recent heart attack: 20 mg (half a 40-mg tablet) twice daily. The doctor may gradually increase this to a maximum dose of 160 mg twice daily. 

Valsartan tablets are not suitable for children under six years of age. Read the package leaflet before use for more information and dosage instructions. 

What are the side effects of Valsartan? 

Valsartan tablets may cause side effects, including: 

  • A drop in blood pressure that occurs when going from lying down to sitting or standing, which results in dizziness and lightheadedness (postural hypotension). This side effect is usually only temporary and will disappear within a few days or weeks once the body adjusts to the lower blood pressure. 
  • Decreased kidney function. 
  • Headache. 
  • Stomach pain. 
  • Coughing. 
  • Tiredness. 

For a complete list of side effects, see the package leaflet. Consult a doctor if side effects are severe or persistent. 

When not to use Valsartan? 

Valsartan is not suitable for everyone. Do not use this medicine if: 

  • You are allergic to valsartan or any other ingredient in this medicine. 
  • You have severely decreased liver function. 
  • You have diabetes or a decreased kidney function and are treated with aliskiren.   
  • You are pregnant or planning to conceive. 

This medicine should be used with caution if: 

  • You have a liver disease. 
  • You have a kidney disease. 
  • You are having kidney dialysis or have had a kidney transplant. 
  • You have a heart condition other than heart failure or heart attack. 

Are you breastfeeding or planning to breastfeed? This medicine is not recommended for use during breastfeeding. Mothers will need to either stop breastfeeding while taking this medicine or take an alternative that is safe. It is important to seek medical advice from your doctor. 

See the package leaflet for a complete list of contraindications and warnings.  

Can Valsartan be used in combination with other medicines? 

Some medicines may interfere with the effectiveness of other medicines. Valsartan is known to interact with the following medicines: 

  • Other medicines that lower blood pressure (e.g. diuretics). 
  • Medicines that can increase blood potassium levels. 
  • Anti-inflammatory painkillers (NSAIDs) such as diclofenac, aspirin or ibuprofen. 
  • Lithium (mood stabiliser medication). 

If you are taking one of the above-listed medicines, seek medical advice from your doctor before using Valsartan. For a complete list of interactions, see the package leaflet. 

Where can I buy Valsartan? 

Valsartan is available at pharmacies. 

Can I buy Valsartan without a prescription? 

Valsartan is a prescription medicine. This means you need a prescription from a registered doctor to obtain it. 

Sources 

College ter Beoordeling van Geneesmiddelen (Dutch Drug Evaluation Committee). (2019, 20 August). Patientenbijsluiter Valsartan 40 mg tabletten PCH, filmomhulde tabletten (Package leaftet Valsartan 40 mg PCH film-coated tablets) | Geneesmiddeleninformatiebank. Consulted on 22 May 2020 on https://www.geneesmiddeleninformatiebank.nl/ords/f?p=111:3::SEARCH:NO::P0_DOMAIN,P0_LANG,P3_RVG1:H,NL,102756 

De Nederlandse Hartstichting (The Netherlands Heart Foundation). (n.d.). Lees over medicijnen bij hoge bloeddruk (More information on high blood pressure medication). Consulted on 22 May 2020 on https://www.hartstichting.nl/risicofactoren/gids-bloeddruk/medicijnen-bij-hoge-bloeddruk?tab=3 

KNMP (Royal Dutch Pharmaceutical Society). (2019, 11 December). Valsartan - Apotheek.nl. Consulted on 22 May 2020 on https://www.apotheek.nl/medicijnen/valsartan#! 

Zorginstituut Nederland (Dutch National Health Care Institute). (n.d.). Valsartan - FarmacotherapeutischKompas. Consulted on 22 May 2020 on https://www.farmacotherapeutischkompas.nl/bladeren/preparaatteksten/v/valsartan#samenstelling 

Assessed by:

Dr Arco Verhoog, Pharmacist
Registration number: BIG: 19065378617

Mr Arco Verhoog holds a degree in pharmacy from the University of Groningen (RUG). He served as a pharmacist in the Netherlands and St Maarten from 2005 to 2008. Since 2008, Arco Verhoog has worked as managing pharmacist on Curaçao.