amlodipine and valsartan (Exforge)

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

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What is amlodipine and valsartan, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

Exforge is a combination of two drugs used for treating high blood pressure (hypertension), amlodipine and valsartan. The FDA approved Exforge in June 2007.

Amlodipine belongs to a class of drugs called calcium channel blockers. These medications block the transport of calcium into the smooth muscle cells lining the coronary arteries and other arteries of the body. Since calcium is important in promoting contraction of muscles, blocking calcium transport relaxes the muscles that surround arteries, dilating (enlarging) the arteries of the body including the arteries of the heart (coronary arteries). Dilating arteries lowers blood pressure.

Valsartan is an oral drug that belongs to a class of drugs called angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) . Angiotensin, formed in the blood by the action of angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) on a chemical in blood called angiotensinogen. Angiotensin is a powerful chemical that attaches to angiotensin receptors found in many tissues but primarily on smooth muscle cells surrounding blood vessels. Angiotensin's attachment to the receptors causes the blood vessels to narrow (constrict) which leads to an increase in blood pressure (hypertension). Valsartan blocks the angiotensin receptor. By blocking the action of angiotensin, valsartan dilates blood vessels and reduces blood pressure.

What brand names are available for amlodipine and valsartan?

Exforge

Is amlodipine and valsartan available as a generic drug?

GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes

Do I need a prescription for amlodipine and valsartan?

Yes

What are the side effects of amlodipine and valsartan?

Side effects include:

Angioedema (swelling of soft tissues including those of the throat and larynx) is a rare but serious side effect of valsartan.

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What is the dosage for amlodipine and valsartan?

The usual dose is 5/160 to 10mg/320 mg daily. The majority of the effect is seen within 2 weeks.

Which drugs or supplements interact with amlodipine and valsartan?

Combining valsartan with potassium-sparing diuretics (for example, spironolactone [Aldactone], triamterene [Maxzide, Dyazide], amiloride), potassium supplements, or salt substitutes containing potassium may lead to hyperkalemia (elevated potassium in the blood), and in heart failure patients, it increases serum creatinine, a test used for monitoring function of the kidneys.

Is amlodipine and valsartan safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?

When used in the second or third trimester of pregnancy valsartan may cause injury and even death to the fetus. Valsartan should not be used during pregnancy. When pregnancy is detected, Exforge should be stopped as soon as possible.

It is not known whether Exforge is secreted into human milk. To prevent adverse effects in the infant, mothers should use alternative agents or discontinue nursing.

What else should I know about amlodipine and valsartan?

What preparations of amlodipine and valsartan are available?

Tablets: 5/160, 5/320, 10/160, and 10 mg/320 mg,

How should I keep amlodipine and valsartan stored?

Tablets should be stored at room temperature, 15-30 C (59-86 F).

Reference: FDA prescribing information for Exforge

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Reviewed on 4/6/2015
References
Reference: FDA prescribing information for Exforge

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