How Does It Work?Valsartan is part of a class of drugs called angiotensin II receptor blockers. As the name implies, the medication blocks angiotensin II receptors. This decreases the effectiveness of a chemical known as angiotensin II, which normally causes blood vessels to narrow (constrict). By blocking the effects of angiotensin II, valsartan causes blood vessels to relax, which can lower blood pressure.
By helping blood vessels relax, the medication also increases the efficiency of the heart. This means that the heart does not have to work as hard and more blood can be pumped out to the rest of the body. Both of these effects are helpful for a person with congestive heart failure.
Effects of ValsartanA blood pressure reading consists of two numbers -- for example: 120/80. The top number is known as the systolic blood pressure and the bottom number is the diastolic blood pressure. During clinical studies in people taking valsartan, systolic blood pressure decreased by 6 to 9 mmHg, on average, and diastolic blood pressure decreased by 3 to 6 mmHg, on average. Certain factors, such as dose, affected how much the blood pressure dropped.
By lowering blood pressure, valsartan can decrease the risks that are seen with long-term high blood pressure (see Effects of High Blood Pressure).
For people with congestive heart failure, the effects of the medication on the heart and blood vessels have been shown to decrease hospitalizations and loss of life.
When and How Do I Take It?Some general considerations for when and how to take valsartan include the following:
- The medication comes in tablet form. It is usually taken once or twice a day.
- Valsartan may be taken with or without food.
- The medication should be taken at the same time each day to maintain an even level in your blood.
- For valsartan to work properly, you have to take it as prescribed. The medication will not work if you stop taking it.