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Exforge (Generic Valsartan)

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Valsartan is a medication primarily used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure. While it’s generally safe and effective for most people, there are some risks associated with taking Valsartan:

  • Hypotension (low blood pressure): Valsartan can cause a drop in blood pressure, leading to symptoms like dizziness, fainting, and weakness.
  • Hyperkalemia (high potassium levels): In some cases, Valsartan can increase potassium levels in the blood, which can be dangerous, especially for people with kidney problems.
  • Kidney problems: Valsartan may worsen kidney function in some individuals, particularly those with pre-existing kidney issues.
  • Liver toxicity: Rarely, Valsartan can cause liver problems, including liver damage or failure.
  • Allergic reactions: Some people may be allergic to Valsartan, experiencing symptoms like rash, itching, swelling, or difficulty breathing.
  • Fetal toxicity: Valsartan should not be used during pregnancy as it can harm the developing fetus, leading to birth defects or death.
  • Drug interactions: Valsartan may interact with other medications, particularly those that affect blood pressure or potassium levels, leading to potentially serious complications.

It’s essential to discuss any potential risks and benefits of Valsartan with your healthcare provider before starting or changing your medication regimen.

Why is this medication prescribed?

Valsartan is prescribed primarily for the treatment of high blood pressure (hypertension) and heart failure. As an angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB), Valsartan works by blocking the action of angiotensin II, a substance in the body that narrows blood vessels and increases blood pressure. By blocking angiotensin II, Valsartan helps relax blood vessels, allowing blood to flow more easily and lowering blood pressure.

In addition to treating hypertension, Valsartan is also used to improve symptoms and reduce the risk of hospitalization in patients with heart failure. It can help reduce the workload on the heart and improve its ability to pump blood to the body.

Overall, Valsartan is an essential medication for managing cardiovascular conditions, helping to lower blood pressure and improve heart function, thus reducing the risk of complications such as heart attacks, strokes, and kidney problems.

How should this medicine be used?

Here’s how Valsartan is typically used:

  • Dosage: Valsartan comes as a tablet and a suspension (liquid) to take by mouth. The dosage of Valsartan can vary depending on the individual’s condition and response to treatment. It’s usually taken once daily, with or without food.
  • Follow doctor’s instructions: It’s crucial to follow your healthcare provider’s instructions regarding the dosage and timing of Valsartan. Do not adjust your dose or stop taking the medication without consulting your doctor.
  • Regular monitoring: Your doctor may monitor your blood pressure and kidney function regularly while you’re taking Valsartan to ensure it’s working effectively and not causing any adverse effects.
  • Avoiding certain substances: While taking Valsartan, it’s essential to avoid excessive potassium intake, as the medication can increase potassium levels in the blood. Also, alcohol consumption should be moderated, as it can further lower blood pressure.
  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding: Valsartan is not recommended during pregnancy as it can harm the fetus. If you’re planning pregnancy or become pregnant while taking Valsartan, notify your doctor immediately. It’s also not recommended during breastfeeding.
  • Missed dose: If you miss a dose of Valsartan, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it’s almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

Always consult your healthcare provider for personalized advice on how to take Valsartan and any other medications you may be prescribed.

Other uses for this medicine

Some potential off-label uses include:

  • Diabetic nephropathy: Valsartan may be used to help protect the kidneys in people with type 2 diabetes and nephropathy (kidney disease).
  • Left ventricular hypertrophy: Valsartan may be used to treat left ventricular hypertrophy, a condition where the muscle of the left ventricle of the heart becomes thickened.
  • Migraine prevention: Some studies suggest that Valsartan may help prevent migraines, although more research is needed to confirm its effectiveness for this purpose.

What special precautions should I follow?

When taking Valsartan, there are several special precautions you should keep in mind:

  • Kidney function: Inform your doctor if you have any kidney problems or are on dialysis. Valsartan can affect kidney function, so your doctor may need to monitor you closely.
  • Liver function: If you have liver disease or a history of liver problems, let your doctor know. Valsartan can sometimes affect liver function, and your doctor may need to adjust your dosage accordingly.
  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding: Valsartan is not recommended during pregnancy as it can harm the developing fetus. If you become pregnant while taking Valsartan, notify your doctor immediately. It’s also not recommended during breastfeeding.
  • Potassium levels: Valsartan can increase potassium levels in the blood, so avoid consuming excessive amounts of potassium-rich foods or supplements unless directed by your doctor.
  • Allergic reactions: If you have a known allergy to Valsartan or any other angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs), inform your doctor. Allergic reactions to Valsartan can be serious and require immediate medical attention.
  • Drug interactions: Inform your doctor about all medications, supplements, and herbal products you are taking, as Valsartan can interact with certain drugs, including potassium supplements, diuretics, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Always follow your doctor’s advice and instructions carefully when taking Valsartan or any other medication. If you have any questions or concerns about Valsartan or its use, don’t hesitate to discuss them with your healthcare provider.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Regarding dietary instructions for Valsartan:

  • There are no specific dietary restrictions associated with taking Valsartan tablets or suspension. However, maintaining a healthy diet low in sodium and high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can complement the effects of the medication in managing high blood pressure or heart failure.
  • If you’re taking the suspension form of Valsartan, shake the bottle well before each dose to ensure proper mixing.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

  • If you forget to take a dose of Valsartan, take it as soon as you remember, unless it’s almost time for your next dose. In that case, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule.
  • Do not double the dose to catch up. Taking more than the prescribed amount can increase the risk of side effects and complications.
  • If you’re unsure about what to do, consult your healthcare provider or pharmacist for guidance.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Valsartan, like any medication, can cause side effects in some people. Not everyone will experience these side effects, and they can vary in severity. Common side effects of Valsartan include:

  • Dizziness: Some individuals may experience dizziness, especially when standing up quickly. This is more common at the beginning of treatment or when the dosage is increased.
  • Headache: Headaches are a common side effect of Valsartan but often improve over time as the body adjusts to the medication.
  • Fatigue: Feeling tired or fatigued is another common side effect reported by some individuals taking Valsartan.
  • Nausea: Some people may experience nausea or an upset stomach while taking Valsartan.
  • Low blood pressure (hypotension): Valsartan can sometimes cause a drop in blood pressure, leading to symptoms such as lightheadedness, fainting, or weakness.
  • Hyperkalemia (high potassium levels): In some cases, Valsartan can increase potassium levels in the blood, which can be dangerous, especially for people with kidney problems.
  • Changes in kidney function: Valsartan may affect kidney function, particularly in individuals with pre-existing kidney disease.
  • Allergic reactions: Although rare, some people may experience allergic reactions to Valsartan, which can manifest as rash, itching, swelling of the face or throat, or difficulty breathing. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience any signs of an allergic reaction.
  • Liver problems: In rare cases, Valsartan may cause liver problems, including liver damage or failure. Symptoms may include yellowing of the skin or eyes, dark urine, or persistent nausea.

It’s essential to report any side effects you experience while taking Valsartan to your healthcare provider. They can help determine whether the side effects are minor and likely to improve over time or if further evaluation or a change in treatment is necessary. Additionally, if you experience any severe or concerning side effects, seek medical attention promptly.

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?

Storage and disposal guidelines for Valsartan tablets and suspension:


  • Store Valsartan tablets and suspension at room temperature away from light and moisture.
  • Keep the medication out of reach of children and pets.
  • Do not store Valsartan in the bathroom, as moisture and humidity can affect its stability.
  • Follow any specific storage instructions provided by your pharmacist or included with the medication packaging.


  • Dispose of expired or unused Valsartan tablets and suspension properly.
  • Do not flush medications down the toilet unless instructed to do so.
  • Check with your local pharmacy or healthcare provider for guidance on safe medication disposal in your area.
  • Some communities have medication take-back programs or special disposal instructions for certain medications.

In case of emergency/overdose

  • If you suspect an overdose of Valsartan, seek emergency medical attention or contact a poison control center immediately.
  • Symptoms of overdose may include dizziness, fainting, rapid or slow heartbeat, confusion, and extreme tiredness.
  • Do not attempt to treat an overdose of Valsartan at home without medical supervision.

What other information should I know?

  • Inform any healthcare provider or dentist treating you that you are taking Valsartan, as it may interact with other medications or procedures.
  • Attend all scheduled appointments with your doctor for monitoring your condition and response to treatment.
  • Report any side effects or concerns about Valsartan to your healthcare provider promptly.
  • Do not change the dosage or stop taking Valsartan without consulting your doctor, even if you feel well.
  • Keep a list of all medications you are taking, including prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal products, and share it with your healthcare provider to avoid potential interactions.

By following these guidelines and staying informed about your medication, you can ensure safe and effective use of Valsartan for managing your condition.

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