Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Drowsiness/reduced alertness: Valsartan may cause drowsiness or dizziness, affecting your ability to drive or operate machinery. Avoid these and other hazardous tasks until you have determined how this medication affects you.
Kidney problems: Valsartan may affect the function of the kidneys, especially for those people who already have kidney problems. Taking aliskiren can make these effects worse, and should not be taken with valsartan. If you have reduced kidney function or kidney disease, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Liver function: Valsartan is broken down by the liver. Liver disease or reduced liver function may cause this medication to build up in the body, causing side effects. If you have liver problems, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed. Your doctor may want to test your liver function regularly with blood tests while you are taking this medication.
This medication may also cause a decrease in liver function. If you experience symptoms of liver problems such as fatigue, feeling unwell, loss of appetite, nausea, yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes, dark urine, pale stools, abdominal pain or swelling, and itchy skin, contact your doctor immediately.
Low blood pressure: Occasionally, a larger-than-expected decrease in blood pressure occurs after taking valsartan. In some cases, this happens after the first dose. It is more likely to occur if you take diuretics (water pills), are taking aliskiren, have a reduced salt intake, are on dialysis, or are experiencing diarrhea or vomiting. Blood pressure should be monitored more often in these situations. Those who have low blood pressure or are just starting this medication should move slowly from a reclining to an upright position to reduce the risk of dizziness.
Pregnancy: Valsartan should not be taken by pregnant women as it can cause harm to an unborn child. If you are planning to become pregnant, discuss alternative medications for blood pressure control with your doctor. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, stop taking it and tell your doctor at once.
Breast-feeding: It is not known if valsartan passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking this medication, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.
Children: The safety and effectiveness of this medication have not been established for children.