Medically Reviewed on 3/3/2023

Generic Name: valsartan

Brand Name: Diovan

Drug Class: ARBs

What is valsartan, and what is it used for?

Valsartan is an oral medication that is used to treat high blood pressure and congestive 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.

Valsartan 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.

What are the side effects of valsartan?

Valsartan is generally well-tolerated. The most common side effects are:

Other important side effects are:

Rhabdomyolysis (inflammation and destruction of muscle) and angioedema (swelling of soft tissues including those of the throat and larynx) are rare but serious side effects of valsartan.

What is the dosage for valsartan?

  • The usual dose of valsartan for adults with high blood pressure is 80 to 160 mg once daily.
  • The maximum dose is 320 mg daily. Maximum blood pressure reduction occurs within 4 weeks.
  • For congestive heart failure, the usual dose is 40 mg twice daily.
    • The doses may be increased to 80-160 mg twice daily.
    • The initial dose after a heart attack is 20 mg twice daily.
    • The dose may be increased to 160 mg twice daily if tolerated without side effects.

Which drugs interact with valsartan?


Salt and sodium are the same. See Answer

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

  • When used in the second or third trimester of pregnancy, valsartan and similar drugs can cause injury and even death to the fetus. Valsartan should not be used during pregnancy. When pregnancy is detected, valsartan should be stopped as soon as possible.
  • It is not known whether valsartan is secreted into human milk. Valsartan is secreted into the milk of rats.

What else should I know about valsartan?

Preparations, storage, generic and prescription information about valsartan
  • Valsartan is available as Tablets: 40, 80, 160 and 320 mg. Tablets are scored and can be split.
  • Capsules should be stored at room temperature, 15-30 C (59-86 F).
  • Valsartan is available in generic form. You need a prescription for Vasartan.


Valsartan is an ARB drug prescribed for the treatment of high blood pressure and congestive heart failure. Valsartan is generally well-tolerated. The most common side effects are headache, dizziness, fatigue, abdominal pain, cough, diarrhea, and nausea. Do not take valsartan during pregnancy because of the risk of fetal harm. Consult your doctor before taking if breastfeeding.

Treatment & Diagnosis

Medications & Supplements

Prevention & Wellness

FDA Logo

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

See more info: valsartan on RxList
Medically Reviewed on 3/3/2023
FDA Prescribing Information