Diovan is a prescription medication primarily used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) in adults and children over the age of six. It belongs to a class of drugs known as angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs), which work by blocking the action of a hormone called angiotensin II. By blocking this hormone, Diovan helps to relax blood vessels, thereby lowering blood pressure and improving blood flow.

Angiotensin II is a powerful vasoconstrictor, meaning it causes blood vessels to narrow. This narrowing increases blood pressure, which can strain the heart and lead to various cardiovascular problems over time. Diovan blocks the receptors that angiotensin II normally binds to, preventing its action. As a result, blood vessels stay relaxed and dilated, reducing blood pressure and easing the workload on the heart.

Precautions and Warnings with Diovan

  • Kidney Function: Diovan can affect kidney function, especially in patients with pre-existing kidney problems.
  • Potassium Levels: Diovan may increase potassium levels in the blood. Patients with conditions that predispose them to hyperkalemia (high potassium levels) should use Diovan with caution.
  • Liver Function: Diovan is metabolized in the liver. Patients with liver impairment should use Diovan with caution, as it may accumulate in the body and lead to adverse effects.
  • Hypotension (Low Blood Pressure): Diovan can cause a decrease in blood pressure, especially during the initial period of treatment or when the dosage is increased.
  • Heart Failure and Left Ventricular Dysfunction: Diovan is indicated for the treatment of heart failure and left ventricular dysfunction following a heart attack. However, caution is advised in patients with severe heart failure or those who are at risk of hypotension.
  • Hyperkalemia: Diovan may increase potassium levels in the blood, particularly in patients with underlying kidney problems or those taking other medications that affect potassium levels.

Diovan Side Effects

While Diovan is generally well-tolerated, like any medication, it may cause side effects in some individuals. Side effects associated with Diovan may include:

Common Side Effects

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Tiredness
  • Flu symptoms
  • Upper respiratory infection
  • Diarrhea
  • Cold symptoms (cough, runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat)
  • Sinusitis
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Swelling
  • Blurred vision
  • Itching or skin rash
  • Back pain
  • Joint pain

Serious Side Effects

  • Chest pain
  • Fainting
  • Palpitations
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Swelling of the skin (most often around the lips and eyes)

Drug Interactions with Diovan

Diovan may interact with other medications, supplements, or substances, potentially affecting its effectiveness or increasing the risk of adverse effects. Some notable drug interactions with Diovan may include: 

  • Potassium-Sparing Diuretics: Concurrent use of potassium-sparing diuretics, such as spironolactone or amiloride, with Diovan may increase the risk of hyperkalemia (high potassium levels).
  • Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs): NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, may reduce the antihypertensive effects of Diovan and increase the risk of kidney damage, especially in patients with pre-existing kidney problems.
  • Lithium: Diovan may increase lithium levels in the blood, leading to lithium toxicity.
  • Antidiabetic Medications: Diovan may enhance the blood glucose-lowering effects of antidiabetic medications, such as insulin or oral hypoglycemic agents.
  • Other Antihypertensive Medications: Concurrent use of other antihypertensive medications, such as ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers, or calcium channel blockers, with Diovan may further lower blood pressure and increase the risk of hypotension.
  • Digoxin: Diovan may increase digoxin levels in the blood, leading to digoxin toxicity.

Diovan Strengths and Dosages

Diovan Tablets

  • Diovan 40 mg tablets
  • Diovan 80 mg tablets
  • Diovan 160 mg tablets
  • Diovan 320 mg tablets

Diovan Oral Suspension

  • Diovan 4 mg/mL oral suspension

Recommended Dosage

For most adults with hypertension, the usual starting dose of Diovan is 80 mg once daily. The dosage may be adjusted based on your blood pressure response, up to a maximum dose of 320 mg once daily.

For patients with heart failure or left ventricular dysfunction following a heart attack, the recommended starting dose is 20 mg twice daily, which may be increased up to 160 mg twice daily as tolerated.

For pediatric patients (6 to 16 years of age) with hypertension, the recommended starting dose of Diovan is based on weight. The usual starting dose is 1.3 mg/kg once daily, up to a maximum dose of 2.7 mg/kg once daily or 160 mg once daily, whichever is lower.

Cost of Diovan in America

At this time of writing, reports the cost for Diovan oral tablet 40 mg to be approximately $254 for a supply of 30 tablets.

Patients are encouraged to check with their local pharmacies, insurance providers, or explore patient assistance programs to determine the most cost-effective option for obtaining Diovan.

Diovan Alternatives

While Diovan is a commonly prescribed medication for hypertension and certain cardiovascular conditions, several alternative medications may be available that work through different mechanisms to achieve similar effects:

  • Losartan (Cozaar): Like Diovan, losartan is an angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB) that helps lower blood pressure by blocking the effects of angiotensin II, a hormone that narrows blood vessels. Losartan is available in various strengths and is generally well-tolerated, making it a suitable alternative for many patients.
  • Lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril): Lisinopril is an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor that works by inhibiting the production of angiotensin II, thereby relaxing blood vessels and reducing blood pressure. It is often used as a first-line treatment for hypertension and heart failure and may be considered as an alternative to Diovan.
  • Amlodipine (Norvasc): Amlodipine belongs to a class of medications known as calcium channel blockers, which work by relaxing blood vessels and improving blood flow. It is commonly prescribed alone or in combination with other antihypertensive medications and may be used as an alternative to Diovan, particularly in patients with certain cardiovascular conditions.
  • Metoprolol (Lopressor): Metoprolol is a beta-blocker that works by slowing the heart rate and reducing the force of contractions, thereby lowering blood pressure. It is often used to treat hypertension, angina, and certain heart rhythm disorders and may be considered as an alternative to Diovan, especially in patients with comorbid conditions such as heart failure or arrhythmias.
  • Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ): Hydrochlorothiazide is a thiazide diuretic that helps lower blood pressure by increasing urine output and reducing fluid retention. It is often used in combination with other antihypertensive medications and may be considered as an alternative or adjunctive therapy to Diovan, particularly in patients who require additional blood pressure lowering.

FAQs of Diovan

What is Diovan?

Diovan is a prescription medication primarily used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) in adults and children over the age of six. It belongs to a class of drugs known as angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs), which work by blocking the action of a hormone called angiotensin II. By blocking this hormone, Diovan helps to relax blood vessels, thereby lowering blood pressure and improving blood flow.

When did Diovan go generic?

Generic versions of Diovan, containing the active ingredient valsartan, became available after the patent for Diovan expired in 2012.

What’s the difference between Diovan and Diovan HCT?

Diovan is a standalone medication used to treat high blood pressure, while Diovan HCT is a combination medication containing valsartan and hydrochlorothiazide, a diuretic (water pill). Diovan HCT is used to lower blood pressure by combining the effects of an angiotensin II receptor blocker (valsartan) with a diuretic to reduce fluid retention.

What happens if I stop taking Diovan?

It’s important to continue taking Diovan as prescribed by your healthcare provider, even if you feel well. Suddenly stopping Diovan may cause your blood pressure to increase, leading to adverse cardiovascular events such as heart attack or stroke.

Can Diovan be taken with food, or should it be taken on an empty stomach?

Diovan can be taken with or without food. There are no specific dietary restrictions regarding the timing of Diovan administration.

How long does it typically take for Diovan to start lowering blood pressure effectively?

The onset of action of Diovan varies from person to person. In some individuals, Diovan may start lowering blood pressure within a few hours of the first dose, while it may take several weeks for others to experience the full therapeutic effects.

What should I do if I accidentally miss a dose of Diovan?

If you accidentally miss a dose of Diovan, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your regular dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The information provided here is for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment recommendations. It should not be taken as an endorsement of any specific medication or treatment. Individual health conditions and responses to treatment can vary greatly; therefore, this information should not be seen as a guarantee of safety, suitability, or effectiveness for any particular individual. Always consult with a healthcare professional for personalized medical advice and before making any decisions regarding your health or treatment plans.

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