Warnings and Precautions With Valsartan
Among the warnings and precautions with valsartan to be aware of are potential drug interactions, the safety of taking the drug while pregnant or nursing, and the risk of extremely low blood pressure. Some conditions that you should let your healthcare provider know about before you take valsartan include heart disease, diabetes, and gallstones or other gallbladder problems.
Valsartan: What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking valsartan (Diovan®) if you have:
- Heart disease
- Liver disease
- Kidney disease or kidney failure
- Gallstones or other gallbladder problems
- Any allergies, including allergies to other angiotensin II receptor blockers, foods, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
- Pregnant or trying to become pregnant
- On dialysis
Tell your healthcare provider about all of the medicines you are currently taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Some Valsartan Warnings and PrecautionsSome valsartan warnings and precautions to be aware of include:
- There are a couple of medicines that valsartan can interact with (see Drug Interactions With Valsartan).
- Valsartan may cause extremely low blood pressure in some people. Extremely low blood pressure is more likely to happen in people who are taking a diuretic; who are on dialysis; who have recently had a heart attack; or who have congestive heart failure, excessive sweating, or diarrhea or vomiting. This is why it is important to drink fluids regularly while taking valsartan. If you have any possible symptoms of low blood pressure -- such as dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting -- contact your healthcare provider. If you have fainted, stop taking valsartan until you have talked with your healthcare provider.
Also, make sure not to drive, operate any heavy machinery, or perform any other tasks that require alertness before you know how valsartan affects you.
- Valsartan is a pregnancy Category D medicine, meaning that it poses health risks to your unborn child. Prior to taking valsartan, let your healthcare provider know if you are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant. If you become pregnant while taking this drug, contact your healthcare provider immediately (see Diovan and Pregnancy for more information).
- While taking valsartan, do not use potassium supplements or salt substitutes with potassium unless you have discussed this with your doctor. This is because in some people taking valsartan, potassium in the blood can increase to dangerous levels.
- Valsartan may cause a decrease in kidney function, especially in people who are elderly, have kidney disease, have severe congestive heart failure (CHF), or are taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or diuretics (water pills). Your healthcare provider may choose to monitor your kidney function with a blood test while you are taking it.
Contact your healthcare provider if you notice a decrease in urination or swelling in your hands, legs, ankles, or feet, which can be signs of kidney problems.
- It is not known whether or not valsartan passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are nursing, talk with your healthcare provider about whether you should stop taking valsartan or stop breastfeeding.