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valsartan (cont.)

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking valsartan (Diovan)?

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to valsartan.

To make sure valsartan is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:

FDA pregnancy category D. Do not use valsartan if you are pregnant. Stop using this medication and tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant. Valsartan can cause injury or death to the unborn baby if you take the medicine during your second or third trimester. Use effective birth control while taking valsartan.

It is not known whether valsartan passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are using valsartan.

Valsartan should not be given to a child younger than 6 years old.

How should I take valsartan (Diovan)?

Take exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results.

You may take valsartan with or without food. Take the medicine at the same time each day.

If a child taking valsartan cannot swallow a capsule whole, your pharmacist can mix the medicine into a liquid. Shake this liquid well just before you measure a dose. Measure the liquid with a special dose-measuring spoon or medicine cup, not with a regular table spoon. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.

Your blood pressure will need to be checked often. Your kidney function may also need to be checked with frequent blood tests. Visit your doctor regularly.

It may take 2 to 4 weeks of using this medicine before your blood pressure is under control. Keep using this medicine as directed, even if you feel well. High blood pressure often has no symptoms. You may need to use blood pressure medication for the rest of your life.

Talk with your doctor if your symptoms do not improve after 4 weeks of treatment.

Conditions that may cause very low blood pressure include: vomiting, diarrhea, heavy sweating, heart disease, dialysis, a low salt diet, or taking diuretics (water pills). Tell your doctor if you have a prolonged illness that causes diarrhea or vomiting.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

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.

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