Diovan: Uses and Side Effects

December 13, 2019
Diovan works by blocking the effect of angiotensin II, relaxing the blood vessels and lowering blood pressure. In this article, we'll tell you about its uses and side effects.

Diovan is a drug whose active ingredient is valsartan. It belongs to a group of drugs known as angiotensin II receptor antagonists, which help to control high blood pressure. High blood pressure makes the heart and arteries work harder. If left untreated, it can damage blood vessels in the brain, heart, and kidney failure, causing a stroke, heart failure, or kidney failure.

Diovan: Action and uses

Angiotensin II is a bodily substance that causes blood vessels to constrict, resulting in increased blood pressure. Diovan works by blocking the effect of angiotensin II, relaxing the blood vessels and lowering blood pressure. This drug, which can be found in the form of coated tablets, can be used for the treatment of three different conditions:

  • Hypertension in adults, in children over the age of 6, and adolescents between the ages of 6 and 18.
  • To treat adult patients who suffered a recent heart attack, between 12 hours and 10 days after the attack. This drug helps reduce the risk of death after a heart attack.
  • Adult patients with heart failure. In these patients, treatment usually starts with 40 mg twice a day.
A woman holding a pill in her hand and a glass of water with the other.

This drug belongs to a group of drugs known as angiotensin II receptor antagonists.

Naturally, dosages depend upon the condition. In many cases, doctors will increase the dose gradually over several weeks to a maximum of 160 mg twice a day. The final dose depends on a person’s particular tolerance.

This drug can be administered with other treatments for heart failure, such as angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs).

Symptoms of heart failure include shortness of breath and leg and feet swelling due to fluid retention.

Use of valsartan with other drugs

The effects of valsartan may be altered when taken with certain medications. In these cases, the doctor may need to change the dose and take other precautions. The medical professional may even need to interrupt treatment with any other drugs, such as those used to lower blood pressure, including diuretics, angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs), and aliskiren. Also, medical professionals have to take into account drugs that raise blood potassium levels such as potassium supplements or potassium-sparing drugs.

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Possible side effects

Like all medications, this drug can cause side effects, although not every person suffers from them. Some side effects can be serious and may require immediate medical attention. The frequency of some of them can vary depending on the patient’s condition.

People who take this drug can experience symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as:

  • Swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing.
  • Intense and itchy skin rash.
A woman suffering from itchy skin.

Taking this drug can cause allergic reactions that manifest with itchy skin. If this occurs, consult your doctor.

If you suffer from any of these symptoms, stop taking this drug and contact your doctor. Other common side effects include dizziness, low blood pressure with or without symptoms, and signs of impaired renal function.

However, other adverse effects may manifest. Typically, these include angioedema, sudden loss of consciousness, vertigo, muscle spasms, abnormal heart rhythm, coughing, weakness, and abdominal pain. However, adverse effects such as dizziness and impaired renal function were less frequent in adult patients who were getting treatment for high blood pressure. However, they’re more common in adult patients treated for heart failure or after a recent heart attack.

Communication of adverse effects

If you experience any adverse effects, consult your doctor or pharmacist. By letting them know, you can help provide more information on the safety of this medicine. For better results and to reduce the risk of adverse effects, always take this drug exactly as your doctor prescribes.

Discover: How to Change Your Lifestyle if You Have Hypertension


Overall, studies show that valsartan in doses of 160 mg to 360 mg proves more effective in controlling blood pressure compared to other medications of the same group. However, it’s important to talk to your doctor to find out if it’s right for you.

  • Ripley, T. L. (2005). Valsartan in chronic heart failure. Annals of Pharmacotherapy. https://doi.org/10.1345/aph.1E327
  • Zakirova, A. N., & Zakirova, N. E. (1999). Diovan efficacy and tolerance in mild and moderate hypertension. Terapevticheskii Arkhiv.
  • Mahony, C. (2013). Second study on valsartan is threatened with retraction over alleged data manipulation. BMJ (Clinical Research Ed.). https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f4920
  • Huang QF, Li Y, Wang JG. Overview of clinical use and side effect profile of valsartan in Chinese hypertensive patients. Drug Des Devel Ther. 2013;8:79–86. Published 2013 Dec 30. doi:10.2147/DDDT.S38617