Valsartan is used as a treatment for high blood pressure, as well as congestive heart failure. As part of a class of medications called angiotensin II receptor antagonists, valsartan impedes the action of natural substances in the body that cause a tightening of blood vessels, thus allowing a smoother blood flow to the heart. Also known as Diovan, manufactured by Novartis in the United States, valsartan can be essential in the health of cardiac patients, especially after a patient experiences a heart attack.
Available as a tablet in 40, 80, 160 and 320 milligram doses, valsartan can also be found in some markets as a hard gelatin capsule, containing either 40, 80 or 160 milligrams per dose. Typical doses range from 40 to 320 milligrams daily. Typical side effects include dizziness, headache, cough, nausea, exhaustion, joint pain, blurry vision, rash and diarrhea.
The patent protection for Diovan expires in 2012, making way for generic possibilities for this leading blood pressure drug. With the increase in childhood obesity, as well as hypertension in children rising, valsartan was recently tested in children ages 6-16. The results, published in The Journal of Clinical Hypertension on March 18, 2011 indicated a favorable response from the trial. There were 261 randomized children participating, and they received a low (10/20 mg), medium(40/80 mg), or high dose (80/160 mg) of valsartan for two weeks total. Patients were randomized to a 2-week placebo-controlled withdrawal phase at the conclusion of two weeks. Both systolic blood pressure (SSBP) and sitting diastolic blood pressure (SDBP) were found to be lowered in the valsartan versus the placebo controlled group. In addition, the safety and efficacy of valsartan was impressive, with headache being the most adverse effect noted among adolescent patients. Researchers deemed valsartan to be safe and well tolerated, which is encouraging for further studies in treating hypertension in children.
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