Diovan capsules contain the active substance valsartan. Diovan also contains the following nonmedicinal ingredients: microcrystalline cellulose, polyvidone, sodium lauryl sulfate, crospovidone and magnesium stearate. The capsule shell contains: gelatin, black iron oxide, red iron oxide and titanium dioxide. If you are on a special diet, or if you are allergic to any substance, ask your doctor or pharmacist whether any of these ingredients may cause a problem.
Diovan belongs to a new class of medicines known as angiotensin II AT 1 receptor blocker, which help to control high blood pressure. Angiotensin II is a natural hormone produced in the body, and is part of your body's system that usually keeps blood pressure at normal levels. One function of angiotensin II is to increase blood pressure, usually when it becomes too low. Diovan works by blocking the effect of angiotensin II. As a result, blood pressure is lowered.
Do I really need to treat my high blood pressure?
High blood pressure increases the workload of the heart and arteries. If this condition continues for a long time, damage to the blood vessels of the brain, heart, and kidneys can occur, and may eventually result in a stroke, heart failure or kidney failure. High blood pressure also increases the risk of heart attacks. Reducing your blood pressure decreases your risk of developing these illnesses.
Patients who have high blood pressure often do not notice any signs or symptoms of this condition. Indeed, many may feel quite normal for a long time. So even though you are feeling well, your health may be getting worse. This makes it all the more important for you to continue your treatment program and to keep your appointments with your doctor.
Remember that this medicine does not cure your high blood pressure; it only may help to control it. Therefore, if you want to lower your blood pressure and keep it down, you must continue to take Diovan as directed.
Using Diovan Safely
You should not take Diovan if:
- you have ever had an unusual or allergic reaction to valsartan or to any other component of this product,
- you are pregnant (see below).
Diovan is not recommended for children.
What does your doctor need to know about you?
To be sure that you can use Diovan safely your doctor must know whether you have certain medical conditions. Before taking Diovan make sure your doctor knows if you:
- have a serious kidney or liver disease,
- are suffering from vomiting or diarrhea.
Before taking Diovan make sure your doctor knows about all the medications you are taking. It may be necessary to change the dose, take other precautions, or perhaps stop one of the medicines. This applies to both prescription and nonprescription medicines, especially:
- medicines used to lower blood pressure, including diuretics (water pills),
- potassium-sparing medicines, potassium supplements or salt substitutes containing potassium,
- lithium therapy.
Are you pregnant or breast-feeding?
Do not take Diovan if you are pregnant. Similar medicines were associated with serious harm to fetuses when they were taken after the first 3 months of pregnancy. (It is not known if they are harmful during the first 3 months). It is therefore important to tell your doctor immediately if you think you may have become pregnant, or planning to become pregnant.
Although it is not known whether Diovan can pass into human breast milk, this does happen in animals. Therefore do not breast-feed during treatment. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding, so that other treatment options can be tried.
What if you drive a vehicle or use machinery?
Like many other medicines used to treat high blood pressure, Diovan may rarely cause dizziness and affect your concentration. So before you drive a vehicle, use machinery, or do other things that need concentration, make sure you know how you react to the effects of Diovan.
How to Take Diovan
The usual dosage is one 80 mg capsule once a day. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe a higher dose (e.g., the 160 mg capsule) or prescribe it together with another medicine (e.g., a diuretic).
You can take Diovan with or without food, but it should be taken the same way each day.
What happens if a dose is missed?
Try to take your dose at the same time each day, preferably in the morning. However, if you have completely forgotten to take your dose during the day, carry on with the next one at the usual time. Do not double doses.
What to do in case of overdose?
If you experience severe dizziness and/or fainting, contact your doctor immediately so that medical attention may be given promptly.
Like all medicines, Diovan may cause unwanted reactions. Most patients do not experience side effects from Diovan, however, some patients may experience dizziness, lightheadedness or rash including hives. In very rare cases, impaired renal function (disturbance of kidney function) has been reported). Tell your physician or pharmacist promptly about these or any unusual symptoms.
If you develop an allergic reaction involving swelling of the face, lips, and/or tongue, stop taking Diovan and contact your physician immediately.
How to Store Diovan
Store your Diovan capsules in a dry place at room temperature and avoid temperatures above 30°C.
This medicine has been prescribed to you for your current medical problem only. Do not give it to other people.
It is very important that you take this medicine exactly as your doctor tells you in order to get the best results and reduce the chance of side effects.