GENERIC NAME: valsartan
BRAND NAME: Diovan
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Valsartan is an oral medication that is used to treat high blood pressure and congestive heart failure. It belongs to a class of drugs called angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) which also includes irbesartan (Avapro), losartan (Cozaar), and candesartan (Atacand). Angiotensin, formed in the blood by the action of angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE), is a powerful chemical that attaches to angiotensin receptors found in many tissues but primarily on smooth muscle cells of blood vessels. Angiotensin's attachment to the receptors causes the blood vessels to narrow (vasoconstrict) 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. Valsartan was approved by the FDA in December 1996.
PRESCRIBED FOR: Valsartan is used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure. It also is prescribed after heart attacks since valsartan may reduce deaths in patients who developed congestive heart failure after a heart attack. Valsartan also may reduce hospitalizations in patients with congestive heart failure.
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