Diovan is a brand-name prescription medication. It’s FDA-approved to:

  • Treat high blood pressure. Diovan is used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure) in adults and in children ages 6 to 16 years.
  • Reduce the risk of a hospital stay due to heart failure. Diovan is used to reduce the risk of a hospital stay due to certain types of heart failure. It must be classified as New York Heart Association (NYHA) class II, III, or IV heart failure.*
  • Lower the risk of cardiovascular death after a heart attack. Diovan is used to lower the risk of death due to a cardiovascular (heart or blood vessel) problem after a heart attack. The heart attack must have led to left ventricular failure or left ventricular dysfunction. These are problems with the left side of the heart.

For details on the uses of Diovan, see the “Diovan uses” section below.

*According to the NYHA scale, class I heart failure is the least severe, and class IV is the most severe. Your doctor will usually classify your heart failure based on the severity of your symptoms.

Drug details

The active drug in Diovan is valsartan. Diovan is in a class of medications called angiotensin receptor blockers. (A medication class is a group of drugs that work in a similar way.)

Diovan comes as a tablet that you swallow. You’ll likely take it once per day. Diovan is available in the following strengths: 40 milligrams (mg), 80 mg, 160 mg, and 320 mg.

Diovan vs. Diovan HCT

Diovan and another drug called Diovan HCT both contain the active drug valsartan. However, Diovan HCT contains a second active drug called hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ).

HCTZ is a diuretic (water pill), which can also help lower blood pressure. Some people may need more than one medication to manage their blood pressure. Having two drugs in one pill, as with Diovan HCT, may make it easier for people to remember to take all of their medications.

Because Diovan HCT contains HCTZ, Diovan and Diovan HCT shouldn’t be used in place of one another. This article focuses on Diovan, not Diovan HCT.

If you’re interested in learning more about Diovan HCT, talk with your doctor.

Effectiveness

For information about the effectiveness of Diovan, see the “Diovan uses” section below.

Diovan is a brand-name drug that contains the active drug valsartan. This active drug is also available as a generic medication. A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication.

The generic is considered to be as safe and effective as the original drug. Generics tend to cost less than brand-name drugs.

If you’re interested in using the generic form of Diovan, talk with your doctor. They can tell you if it comes in forms and strengths that can be used for your condition.

The Diovan dosage your doctor prescribes will depend on several factors. These include:

  • the type and severity of the condition you’re using Diovan to treat
  • your age
  • other medications you may take

Typically, your doctor will start you on a low dosage of Diovan. Then they’ll adjust it over time to reach the amount that’s right for you. Your doctor will ultimately prescribe the smallest dosage that provides the desired effect.

The following information describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. However, be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. Your doctor will determine the best dosage to fit your needs.

Drug forms and strengths

Diovan comes as a tablet that you swallow. It’s available in the following strengths: 40 milligrams (mg), 80 mg, 160 mg, and 320 mg.

Dosage for high blood pressure

For treating high blood pressure in adults, the recommended starting dosage of Diovan is 80 mg to 160 mg once daily.

Diovan’s dosing range for treating high blood pressure in adults is 80 mg to 320 mg once daily. Your doctor will adjust your dosage depending on how effective the drug is in lowering your blood pressure. They may decide to increase your Diovan dosage or recommend another medication to use with Diovan. Or they may suggest you try both options.

Dosage for reducing the risk of a hospital stay due to heart failure

Diovan is used to reduce the risk of a hospital stay due to heart failure. For this purpose, the recommended starting dosage for adults is 40 mg twice daily.

Over time, your doctor may increase your dosage. The next dosage would be 80 mg twice per day. Then your doctor may have you take the maximum recommended dosage of 160 mg twice per day. This is the highest dosage that has been shown to work for treating heart failure in clinical studies of the drug.

Your doctor will ultimately choose the dosage that best treats your condition without causing bothersome side effects.

Dosage for use after heart attack

Diovan may be used as soon as 12 hours after a heart attack. The recommended starting dosage for treating this condition is 20 mg* twice daily.

Within 7 days, your doctor may increase your dosage to 40 mg twice daily. Depending on how effective Diovan is for you, they can increase your dosage to a maximum of 160 mg twice daily. This is the highest dosage that has been shown to work after a heart attack in clinical studies of the drug.

Your doctor will ultimately choose the dosage that best treats your condition without causing bothersome side effects.

* A 40-mg tablet would be split to create the 20-mg dose.

Children’s dosage

Diovan is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat high blood pressure in children ages 6 to 16 years.

For this use, the recommended dosage is based on body weight. The suggested starting dosage is 1.3 mg per kilogram (kg)*, once per day, or 40 mg, whichever is less.

The maximum dosage of Diovan for children is 2.7 mg per kg body of weight per day, up to a maximum of 160 mg per day. This dose should be given once daily.

Your child’s doctor can determine the correct dosage of Diovan for your child.

*One kilogram is equal to about 2.2 pounds (lb).

Liquid suspension form for children

Depending on your child’s weight, the right dose may not be available in tablets. Diovan tablets are available in the following strengths: 40 mg, 80 mg, 160 mg, and 320 mg.

Instead, you can ask the pharmacist to make a liquid suspension using Diovan tablets. They crush the tablets and mix them with a liquid for your child to drink. The liquid suspension contains 160 mg of Diovan per 4 milliliters (mL) of liquid.

Your child’s doctor may also request the liquid suspension form by contacting the pharmacy. For more information, talk with your child’s doctor or pharmacist.

Dosage questions

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of Diovan, try and take it as soon as you remember. If it’s almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your next regularly scheduled dose. You shouldn’t “double up” or take two doses of Diovan at once. This can increase your risk for side effects from the medication. For more information, see the “Diovan side effects” section below.

To help make sure that you don’t miss a dose, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm on your phone or downloading a reminder app. The timer on your phone or even a kitchen timer can work, too.

Will I need to use this drug long term?

Diovan is meant to be used as a long-term treatment. If you and your doctor determine that Diovan is safe and effective for you, you’ll likely take it long term.

Diovan can cause mild or serious side effects. The following lists contain some of the key side effects that may occur while taking Diovan. These lists don’t include all possible side effects.

For more information about the possible side effects of Diovan, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can give you tips on how to deal with any side effects that may be bothersome.

Note: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tracks side effects of drugs it has approved. If you would like to notify the FDA about a side effect you’ve had with Diovan, you can do so through MedWatch.

Mild side effects

Side effects might differ slightly between people taking Diovan for different conditions.

Mild side effects* of Diovan can include:

Most of these side effects may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. But if they become more severe or don’t go away, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

* This is a partial list of mild side effects from Diovan. To learn about other mild side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist, or visit Diovan’s Patient Information.
† For more information about this side effect, see “Side effect details” below.

Serious side effects

Serious side effects from Diovan aren’t common, but they can occur. Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 or your local emergency number if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

Serious side effects and their symptoms can include:

* For more information about this side effect, see “Side effect details” below.
Diovan has a boxed warning regarding the use of the drug during pregnancy. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the FDA. The warning alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous. For more information, see the “Diovan and pregnancy” section below.

Side effects in children

Diovan is FDA-approved to treat hypertension (high blood pressure) in children ages 6 to 16 years.

In clinical studies, side effects in children were similar to those seen in adults. However, the cause of hypertension in children is more likely to be due to kidney problems.

Therefore, children using Diovan for high blood pressure should have their kidney function and potassium level closely monitored. (A high potassium level can be a sign of kidney damage.) For more information, see “Mild side effects” and “Serious side effects” above.

Side effect details

You may wonder how often certain side effects occur with this drug or whether certain side effects pertain to it. Here’s some detail on certain side effects this drug may or may not cause.

Allergic reaction

As with most drugs, some people can have an allergic reaction after taking Diovan. However, it isn’t known how many people may have had an allergic reaction to Diovan in clinical studies.

Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:

  • skin rash
  • itchiness
  • flushing (warmth, swelling, or redness in your skin)

A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include:

  • swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
  • swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat
  • trouble breathing

Call your doctor right away if you have an allergic reaction to Diovan, as the reaction could become severe. Call 911 or your local emergency number if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

Cough

Cough may occur with Diovan use. But this wasn’t a common side effect in clinical trials of the drug.

It’s not known how often cough occurred in people who took valsartan for heart failure.

Cough in people with high blood pressure

Some trials of people with high blood pressure compared valsartan (the active drug in Diovan) with a placebo. A placebo is a treatment with no active drug. Valsartan was also compared with medications from a drug class* called angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors.

Valsartan is a type of drug called an angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB). ACE inhibitors and ARBs are similar. They’re both commonly used to treat conditions such as high blood pressure and heart failure.

In these trials, cough was reported in:

  • 2.6% of people who took valsartan (the active drug in Diovan)
  • 1.5% of people who took a placebo
  • 7.9% of people who took an ACE inhibitor

* A drug class is a group of medications that work in a similar way.

Cough in people after a heart attack

In a clinical trial of people taking valsartan after a heart attack, the following percentages of people stopped taking the drug because of cough:

  • 0.6% of people taking Diovan
  • 2.5% of people taking captopril (an ACE inhibitor)

If you develop a cough while taking Diovan, talk with your doctor. They may recommend a different medication for treating your condition.

Low blood pressure

Hypotension (low blood pressure) can be a side effect of Diovan treatment. The risk may vary depending on what condition Diovan is being used to treat. It may also depend on other medical conditions you have.

Low blood pressure in people with high blood pressure

In clinical studies of people with high blood pressure, 0.1% of people taking valsartan reported low blood pressure. It isn’t known how many people taking a placebo (a treatment with no active drug) may have had hypotension. No one stopped taking the drug in these studies because of low blood pressure.

Low blood pressure in people with certain types of heart failure

Other studies looked at people with certain types of heart failure.

In these studies, low blood pressure occurred in:

  • 5.5% of people taking Diovan
  • 1.8% of people taking a placebo

Low blood pressure in people after a heart attack

In studies of people after a heart attack:

  • 1.8% of people taking Diovan had to stop taking it because of low blood pressure
  • 1.4% of people who took a placebo stopped taking it because of low blood pressure

Symptoms of low blood pressure

Most people who have low blood pressure while taking Diovan don’t have any symptoms. But, if your blood pressure drops too low, you may have symptoms such as blurry vision, dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting.

Talking with your doctor

Before you start taking Diovan, your doctor may ask about other medications you’re using to make sure that Diovan is right for you. If you’re taking a diuretic (water pill) for heart failure, they may lower your dosage of the diuretic. This should lessen your risk for low blood pressure while taking Diovan.

If you have symptoms of low blood pressure while using Diovan, talk with your doctor. They may adjust other medications you’re taking. Or they may recommend a medication other than Diovan to treat your condition.

Dizziness

Dizziness is a side effect that people may have while taking Diovan.

In clinical trials of people using valsartan to treat heart failure, dizziness occurred in:

  • 17% of people taking valsartan
  • 9% of people taking a placebo (a treatment with no active drug)

Dizziness was one of the more common side effects in people taking valsartan to treat high blood pressure. It occurred in up to 8% of people taking valsartan. It wasn’t reported how often this side effect may have occurred in people taking a placebo for high blood pressure.

In addition, it’s not known how often dizziness may have occurred in trials of people taking valsartan after a heart attack.

If you have dizziness while taking Diovan, talk with your doctor. It’s possible you could have low blood pressure, but your doctor will work with you to determine the cause and best treatment for you. (For more information, see “Low blood pressure” above.)

Increased potassium level

Diovan treatment could cause hyperkalemia (an increased level of a mineral called potassium).

In clinical trials of people using valsartan to treat heart failure, hyperkalemia occurred in:

  • 2% of those taking valsartan
  • 1% of those taking a placebo (a treatment with no active drug)

If you have a history of kidney problems, you’re more likely to develop hyperkalemia from taking Diovan. Kidney damage makes it harder for your kidneys to remove potassium from your body.

Hyperkalemia usually doesn’t cause symptoms, but in rare cases, it can cause:

If you develop symptoms of hyperkalemia while taking Diovan, talk with your doctor right away.

Preventing a high potassium level

While you’re taking Diovan, your doctor will likely monitor your potassium level with blood tests. If your levels start rising, they can adjust your medications before the levels rise further.

To help lower your risk for increased potassium level while taking Diovan, you should avoid salt substitutes that contain potassium. For more information, see “Diovan and medications that increase blood potassium level” in the “Diovan interactions” section below.

Cancer (not a side effect)

Cancer isn’t a known side effect of Diovan. This wasn’t reported in clinical trials of the drug and wasn’t found in animal studies.

In 2018, the FDA announced a recall of some medications that contained valsartan, the active drug in Diovan. The FDA issued the recall because it found an impurity called N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) in some of these drugs made by certain manufacturers. NDMA may cause cancer.

Since then, the FDA has found NDMA in other angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB) drugs. (Valsartan is a type of ARB.)

For the latest information on ARB recalls, visit the FDA’s official website on the subject. Or talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves prescription drugs such as Diovan to treat certain conditions.

Diovan for high blood pressure

Diovan is used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure) in adults and in children ages 6 to 16 years.

Lowering blood pressure can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular (heart and blood vessel) problems. Examples of these problems include heart attack and stroke that, in some cases, can be fatal.

High blood pressure explained

When blood flows through your arteries, it pushes on artery walls. (Arteries are vessels that carry blood from your heart to your other organs.) This is called blood pressure. When the force becomes higher than normal, it’s considered high blood pressure.

Most people with high blood pressure don’t have any symptoms. But symptoms of severe high blood pressure can include:

If high blood pressure isn’t treated, it can cause serious complications. These can include damage to your heart and blood vessels, which, in rare cases, can be fatal.

In addition, high blood pressure lowers the blood supply to your brain. Over a long period of time, this could result in brain damage.

What Diovan does

Diovan lowers blood pressure by blocking the action of angiotensin II. This is a hormone your body makes naturally. Angiotensin II narrow your blood vessels. Over time, this can increase your blood pressure and force your heart to work harder.

By preventing angiotensin II from working, Diovan helps keep your blood vessels open. This lowers blood pressure, reducing the risk of certain complications, such as heart attack or stroke.

Effectiveness for high blood pressure

Clinical studies have shown Diovan to be effective in treating high blood pressure. Seven different studies looked at valsartan and a placebo to see if valsartan was more effective at lowering blood pressure. (A placebo is a treatment with no active drug.)

Researchers compared people’s blood pressure before and after the studies. They found that those taking valsartan had a larger decrease in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure than those taking a placebo. (Systolic blood pressure is the top number in a blood pressure reading, and diastolic blood pressure is the bottom number.)

  • In people taking 80 milligrams (mg) to 160 mg of valsartan daily:
    • systolic blood pressure was lowered by about 6 mmHg* to 9 mmHg more than in those who took a placebo daily
    • diastolic blood pressure was lowered by about 3 to 5 mmHg more than those who took a placebo daily
  • In people taking 320 mg of valsartan daily:
    • systolic blood pressure was lowered by about 9 mmHg more than in people taking a placebo daily
    • diastolic blood pressure was lowered by about 6 mmHg more than in people taking a placebo daily

Diovan is part of a drug class called angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs). A drug class is a group of medications that work in a similar way. According to clinical guidelines, ARBs are one of four preferred drug classes for treating high blood pressure in most adults. Your doctor can work with you to determine which medication will work best for you based on your needs.

* Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).

Diovan for reducing the risk of a hospital stay due to heart failure

Diovan is approved to reduce the risk of a hospital stay due to certain types of heart failure. It must be classified as New York Heart Association (NYHA) class II, III, or IV heart failure.*

Clinical studies haven’t shown that Diovan is more effective in treating heart failure when used with a drug called an angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor.

*According to the NYHA scale, class I heart failure is the least severe, and class IV is the most severe. Your doctor will usually classify your heart failure based on the severity of your symptoms.

Heart failure explained

Heart failure occurs when your heart is no longer able to pump enough blood to supply your body. This sometimes happens because the heart muscles have become stiff and hard. As a result, blood flow to the heart may be reduced or even blocked. In other cases of heart failure, the heart may not pump enough blood to support other organs in your body.

Symptoms of heart failure can include:

Effectiveness for reducing the risk of a hospital stay due to heart failure

A clinical study showed that valsartan use helped lower the number of hospital stays due to heart failure.

Researchers randomly assigned people with heart failure to take either Diovan or a placebo twice a day for 2 years. (A placebo is a treatment with no active drug.)

At the end of the study, the researchers found that the following percentages of people went to the hospital for heart failure:

  • almost 13% of people taking Diovan
  • 26.5% of people taking a placebo

Clinical guidelines recommend angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB) medication, such as Diovan, for adults with heart failure. This is to lower the risk of hospital stays and, in some cases, death.

Diovan for use after heart attack

Diovan is used to lower the risk of death due to a cardiovascular (heart or blood vessel) problem after a heart attack. The heart attack must have led to left ventricular failure or left ventricular dysfunction. These are problems with the left side of the heart.

Heart attack explained

During a heart attack, blood stops flowing to certain areas of the heart. A lack of blood flow can damage the heart, making it weaker and less able to function properly.

Diovan opens up your blood vessels, which helps lessen how much work your heart has to do to pump blood through your body.

Symptoms of a heart attack may include:

  • pressure, tightness, or pain in the chest
  • pain that spreads into the arms, back, neck, or jaw
  • nausea
  • shortness of breath

Effectiveness for use after heart attack

Clinical studies have shown that valsartan helps lower the risk of death related to heart or blood vessel problems after a heart attack.

In the studies, valsartan was compared with a drug called captopril, which is an angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor. ACE inhibitors are commonly used to lower the risk of death related to heart or blood vessel problems after a heart attack.

The researchers wanted to see if valsartan was as effective in reducing death as an ACE inhibitor for use after a heart attack. They found that valsartan was just as effective as ACE inhibitors in lowering the risk of death related to heart attacks.

Certain adults can’t use an ACE inhibitor and have certain signs or symptoms of heart failure. For this group of people, clinical guidelines recommend they use an angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB), such as Diovan, after a heart attack.

Diovan and children

Diovan is FDA-approved to treat high blood pressure in children ages 6 to 16 years.

Clinical studies looked at children who took valsartan or a placebo (a treatment with no active drug). The blood pressure of the valsartan group was 8 mm Hg* to 12 mm Hg lower than at the start of the study, depending on the dosage. This was compared with the blood pressure of the placebo group.

Diovan was also studied in children ages 1 to 5 years. But researchers found the drug wasn’t safe to use in this age group. For this reason, Diovan is approved for use only in children ages 6 years and older.

* Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).

Depending on the condition Diovan is used to treat, the drug may be used alone or with other medications.

Use with other drugs for treating high blood pressure

To treat high blood pressure, Diovan is often used with other medications that lower blood pressure.

Drugs such as Diovan are commonly given with medications called diuretics (water pills). An example of a diuretic is hydrochlorothiazide. According to Diovan’s manufacturer, using a diuretic with Diovan is better for lowering blood pressure than taking more than 80 milligrams of Diovan.

In addition to diuretics, Diovan may also be used with other drugs that lower blood pressure. These include calcium channel blockers, such as amlodipine (Norvasc).

Use with other drugs for treating heart failure

Diovan may be used with other drugs that treat heart failure

If you’re taking a diuretic for heart failure, your doctor may lower the dose of this medication while you’re using Diovan. This is because diuretics and Diovan can cause similar side effects. Lowering the dose of your diuretic may lower your risk for these side effects.

The active drug in Diovan, valsartan, is also available in a medication called sacubitril/valsartan (Entresto). This combination drug is approved for treating heart failure.

Use with other drugs for treating heart attack

Diovan may be given with other treatments typically used for heart attack. Examples include aspirin and statin medications, such as atorvastatin (Lipitor) and rosuvastatin (Crestor).

Other drugs are available that can treat your condition. Some may be a better fit for you than others. If you’re interested in finding an alternative to Diovan, talk with your doctor. They can tell you about other medications that may work well for you.

Note: Some of the drugs listed below are used off-label to treat these specific conditions. Off-label drug use means using a drug for a purpose other than what it’s been approved for by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Alternatives for high blood pressure

Examples of other drugs that may be used to treat high blood pressure include:

Alternatives for reducing the risk of a hospital stay due to heart failure

Examples of other drugs that may be used to lower the risk of a hospital stay due to heart failure include:

Alternatives for lowering the risk of cardiovascular death after heart attack

Examples of other drugs that may be used to lower the risk of cardiovascular death* after a heart attack include:

* This is death due to a cardiovascular (heart or blood vessel) problem.

You may wonder how Diovan compares with other medications that are prescribed for similar uses. Here we look at how Diovan and losartan (Cozaar) are alike and different.

Ingredients

Diovan contains the active drug valsartan.

Losartan is a generic medication, so it’s also the active drug.

Both Diovan and losartan are in a drug class called angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs). A drug class is a group of medications that work in a similar way.

Uses

  • Both Diovan and losartan are FDA-approved to treat:
    • hypertension (high blood pressure) in adults as well as in children ages 6 years and older
  • Diovan is also FDA-approved to:
    • reduce the risk of a hospital stay due to certain types of heart failure
    • lower the risk of death due to a cardiovascular (heart or blood vessel) problem after a heart attack in certain people
  • Losartan is also FDA-approved to treat:
    • people with high blood pressure and enlargement of the left side of their heart

For details on Diovan’s uses, see the “Diovan uses” section above. For more information losartan’s uses, talk with your doctor.

Drug forms and administration

Diovan and losartan both come as a tablet that you swallow.

Diovan is typically taken once or twice daily. Losartan is typically taken once daily.

Side effects and risks

Diovan and losartan can cause similar side effects but some different ones as well. Below are examples of these side effects.

Mild side effects

These lists contain up to 10 of the most common mild side effects that can occur with either Diovan or losartan, as well as mild side effects that both drugs may share.

Serious side effects

This list contains examples of serious side effects that both Diovan and losartan may share:

* Both Diovan and losartan have a boxed warning regarding the use of the drug during pregnancy. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the FDA. The warning alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous. For more information on this side effect, see the “Diovan and pregnancy” section below.

Effectiveness

Diovan and losartan are approved to treat high blood pressure in adults as well as in children ages 6 years and older.

These drugs haven’t been directly compared in clinical studies. But studies have found both Diovan and losartan to be effective for treating high blood pressure in adults as well as in children ages 6 years and older.

Diovan and losartan are both in a drug class called angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs). A drug class is a group of medications that work in a similar way. According to clinical guidelines, ARBs are one of four preferred drug classes for treating high blood pressure in most adults.

Costs

According to estimates on GoodRx.com, Diovan costs significantly more than losartan. The actual price you’ll pay for either drug depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.

Diovan is brand-name drug. It’s available as a generic called valsartan. Losartan is a generic drug. Brand-name medications usually cost more than generics.

Losartan is a generic drug. It’s also available as a brand-name drug called Cozaar. Brand-name medications usually cost more than generics.

Like losartan (above), the drug lisinopril (Zestril) has uses similar to those of Diovan. Here’s a comparison of how Diovan and lisinopril are alike and different.

Ingredients

Diovan contains the active drug valsartan. Diovan is in a drug class called angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs). A drug class is a group of medications that work in a similar way.

Lisinopril is a generic medication, so it’s also the active drug. Lisinopril belongs to a class of medications called angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors.

Uses

Diovan and lisinopril are both approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat high blood pressure in adults as well as in children ages 6 years and older.

Also, both drugs are approved to lower the risk of death due to a cardiovascular (heart or blood vessel) problem after a heart attack. But Diovan is approved for this use only in certain people.

In addition, Diovan is FDA-approved to reduce the risk of a hospital stay due to certain types of heart failure.

For details on Diovan’s uses, see the “Diovan uses” section above. For more information on the uses of lisinopril, talk with your doctor.

Drug forms and administration

Diovan and lisinopril both come as a tablet that you swallow.

Diovan is typically taken once or twice daily, depending on the condition it’s prescribed to treat.

Lisinopril is typically taken once daily.

Side effects and risks

Diovan and lisinopril can cause similar side effects but some different ones as well. Below are examples of these side effects.

Mild side effects

These lists contain up to 10 of the most common mild side effects that can occur with either Diovan or lisinopril, as well as mild side effects that both drugs may share.

Serious side effects

These lists contain examples of serious side effects that can occur with lisinopril, as well as serious side effects that both drugs may share.

  • Can occur with Diovan:
    • few unique serious side effects
  • Can occur with lisinopril:
  • Can occur with both Diovan and lisinopril:
    • kidney problems, such as changes in kidney function
    • harm to a developing fetus or miscarriage*

* Both Diovan and lisinopril have a boxed warning regarding the use of the drug during pregnancy. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the FDA. The warning alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous. For more information on this side effect, see the “Diovan and pregnancy” section below.

Effectiveness

Here’s some information on the effectiveness of Diovan and lisinopril.

For treating high blood pressure

Diovan and lisinopril haven’t been directly compared in clinical studies. But studies have found both Diovan and lisinopril to be effective for treating high blood pressure in adults and in children ages 6 years and older.

Clinical guidelines recommend using one of four preferred medication classes to treat high blood pressure in most adults. A medication class is a group of medications that work in the similar way.

One of the preferred medication classes is angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), which includes Diovan. Another class is angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, which includes lisinopril. Your doctor can decide which medication will work best for you.

For reducing the risk of a hospital stay due to heart failure

Diovan and lisinopril haven’t been directly compared in clinical studies. But studies have found both Diovan and lisinopril to be effective for reducing the risk of a hospital stay due to heart failure in adults.

Clinical guidelines recommend an ARB, such as Diovan, or an ACE inhibitor, such as lisinopril, for adults with heart failure. This is to lower the risk of hospital stays and, in some cases, death.

For use after a heart attack

Diovan and lisinopril haven’t been directly compared in clinical studies. But studies have found both Diovan and lisinopril to be effective for treating adults after a heart attack.

Certain adults can’t use an ACE inhibitor, such lisinopril, and have certain symptoms of heart failure. For this group of people, clinical guidelines recommend they use an ARB, such as Diovan, after a heart attack.

Costs

According to estimates on GoodRx.com, Diovan costs significantly more than lisinopril. The actual price you’ll pay for either drug depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.

Diovan is brand-name drug. It’s available as a generic drug called valsartan.

Lisinopril is a generic drug. It’s also is available as a brand-name drug called Zestril. Brand-name medications usually cost more than generics.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Diovan.

Is Diovan a beta-blocker?

No, Diovan isn’t a beta-blocker. Diovan is a type of drug called an angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB).

Beta-blockers are often prescribed to treat the same conditions Diovan is used to treat. These include high blood pressure and heart failure. Beta-blockers are also commonly given to people after a heart attack. Examples of beta-blockers include carvedilol (Coreg) and metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL).

Beta-blockers stop the action of certain hormones such as noradrenaline and adrenaline. ARBs, such as Diovan, relax the muscles in your blood vessels. This helps lower blood pressure and helps your heart pump blood more easily than usual.

If you have questions about beta-blockers or Diovan, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Does Diovan have any contraindications?

Yes, Diovan does have a few contraindications. These are conditions or factors that would prevent you from taking the medication.

You shouldn’t use Diovan if you’re pregnant. The drug can harm a developing fetus or cause miscarriage. In fact, Diovan has a boxed warning* regarding the use of the drug during pregnancy.

Also, you shouldn’t take Diovan if you’ve had an allergic reaction to the drug or any of its ingredients.

In addition, if you have diabetes, you shouldn’t take Diovan if you’re also using a medication called aliskiren (Tekturna). This could increase your risk for certain side effects while taking Diovan.

These include low blood pressure and kidney problems, such as producing less urine than usual or kidney failure. For more information, see “Diovan and medications that increase blood potassium levels” in the “Diovan interactions” section below.

If you have more questions about whether Diovan is safe for you to use, talk with your doctor.

* A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The warning alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous. For more information on this side effect, see the “Diovan and pregnancy” section below.

Does Diovan cause erectile dysfunction (ED)?

Erectile dysfunction (ED) isn’t an expected side effect of Diovan. It wasn’t reported in clinical trials of the drug.

Diovan is a type of drug called an angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB). In general, ED hasn’t been reported as a side effect of other ARBs.

However, some blood pressure medications can cause ED as a side effect. These drugs may be prescribed with Diovan for treating high blood pressure or other conditions, such as heart failure.

For example, diuretics such as hydrochlorothiazide can cause ED. Beta-blockers, such as carvedilol (Coreg), may also cause this side effect.

If you have more questions about possible side effects of Diovan, talk with your doctor.

Can Diovan be used by older people?

Yes, Diovan appears to be safe for use by older people.

In clinical trials for treating high blood pressure, about 36% of the people were age 65 years or older. Nearly 8% of people in these studies were age 75 years or older.

Compared with younger adults, the researchers didn’t note any difference in how safe the drug was or how well it worked in older people.

But the researchers did observe that some older people are more sensitive to Diovan. This group of people may need a lower dose of Diovan than usual to help avoid side effects. For more information on possible side effects from Diovan, see the “Diovan side effects” section above.

If you have questions about whether Diovan is safe for you to use, talk with your doctor.

Should I use a salt substitute while I’m taking Diovan?

You shouldn’t use a salt substitute while taking Diovan unless your doctor has said it’s safe to do so.

Some salt substitutes use potassium in place of sodium (salt). This may increase your potassium level. Diovan itself can increase potassium levels. So using a salt substitute while taking Diovan could further increase your potassium level. Having too much potassium in your body can be dangerous. For more information on this side effect, see the “Diovan side effects” section above.

If you’re taking Diovan, talk with your doctor before using any salt substitute to make sure it’s safe for you. You can also ask them any questions that you may have about salt substitutes.

As with all medications, the cost of Diovan can vary. To find current prices for Diovan tablets in your area, check out GoodRx.com.

The cost you find on GoodRx.com is what you may pay without insurance. The actual price you’ll pay depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.

Keep in mind that you may be able to get a 90-day supply of Diovan. If approved by your insurance company, getting a 90-day supply of the drug could lower your number of trips to the pharmacy and help lower the cost. If you’re interested in this option, talk with your doctor or your insurance company.

Before approving coverage for Diovan, your insurance company may require you to get prior authorization. This means that your doctor and insurance company will need to communicate about your prescription before the insurance company will cover the drug. The insurance company will review the prior authorization request and decide if the drug will be covered.

If you’re not sure if you’ll need to get prior authorization for Diovan, contact your insurance company.

Financial and insurance assistance

If you need financial support to pay for Diovan, or if you need help understanding your insurance coverage, help is available.

Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, the manufacturer of Diovan, offers a copay card that may help lower the cost of the drug. For more information and to find out if you’re eligible for support, visit the manufacturer’s website.

Mail-order pharmacies

Diovan may be available through a mail-order pharmacy. Using this service may help lower the drug’s cost and allow you to get your medication without leaving home.

If recommended by your doctor, you may be able to receive a 90-day supply of Diovan, so there’s less concern about running out of the medication. If you’re interested in this option, talk with your doctor and your insurance company. Some Medicare plans may help cover the cost of mail-order medications.

If you don’t have insurance, you can ask your doctor or pharmacist about online pharmacy options.

Generic version

Diovan is available in a generic form called valsartan. A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. The generic is considered to be as safe and effective as the original drug. And generics tend to cost less than brand-name drugs. To find out how the cost of valsartan compares to the cost of Diovan, visit GoodRx.com.

If your doctor has prescribed Diovan and you’re interested in using valsartan instead, talk with your doctor. They may have a preference for one version or the other. You’ll also need to talk your insurance plan, as it may only cover one or the other.

Diovan is approved to:

For details on the uses of Diovan, see the “Diovan uses” section above.

How high blood pressure occurs

The heart needs a constant supply of blood and oxygen to function. This supply is carried out by blood vessels, which can stretch and tighten.

Angiotensin II, a hormone made by the body, constricts (tightens) the muscles in the blood vessels. Angiotensin II also causes the body to hold on to water and salt.

The tightening of blood vessels and increases in the levels of salt and water can all raise blood pressure and harm blood vessels. Increased blood pressure can raise your risk for heart disease (including heart failure), heart attack, and stroke. Stroke is a type of blood vessel problem.

What Diovan does

How Diovan works is called its mechanism of action.

Diovan is a type of drug called an angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB). ARBs such as Diovan block certain receptors that angiotensin II attaches to. Receptors are proteins on the outside of cells that act like docking stations. These receptors are found in the blood vessels, heart, and kidneys. Blocking angiotensin II from its receptor keeps the receptor from working.

Diovan relaxes the muscles in your blood vessels, which helps lower blood pressure. It also helps your heart pump blood more easily. Therefore, Diovan lowers the risk of certain complications, such as heart attack or stroke, and helps blood flow in people with heart failure.

How long does it take to work?

Diovan begins working as soon as you take your dose. Most people notice drops in blood pressure within 2 weeks.

You likely won’t “feel” Diovan working. But your doctor will monitor you, including checking your blood pressure, to see if the drug is working for you.

There aren’t any known interactions between Diovan and alcohol.

However, drinking alcohol could worsen certain side effects of Diovan. These include diarrhea, dizziness, and fatigue (lack of energy).

If you drink alcohol, talk with your doctor about how much is safe for you to drink while you’re taking Diovan.

Diovan can interact with several other medications. It can also interact with certain supplements and certain foods.

Different interactions can cause different effects. For instance, some interactions can interfere with how well a drug works. Other interactions can increase side effects or make them more severe.

Diovan and other medications

Below are examples of medications that can interact with Diovan. This section does not include all drugs that may interact with Diovan.

Before taking Diovan, talk with your doctor and pharmacist. Tell them about all prescription, over-the-counter, and other drugs you take. Also tell them about any vitamins, herbs, and supplements you use. Sharing this information can help you avoid potential interactions.

If you have questions about drug interactions that may affect you, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Diovan and medications that increase the level of potassium in the blood

Diovan can increase the level of potassium in the blood. Taking Diovan with other drugs that can also increase the potassium level could cause your body to have too much potassium.

If you have heart failure, this drug combination could also increase the level of creatinine in your blood. (Creatinine is a waste product in your blood that’s normally cleared by your kidneys.) Increased creatinine could be a sign of kidney problems.

Examples of medications that can increase your blood potassium level include:

While you’re taking Diovan, your doctor will likely check your potassium level with blood tests. If the level rises, they can adjust your medications before the levels rise further.

Depending on your potassium level and other medical conditions you may have, your doctor may adjust other drugs you’re taking. Or they may recommend a medication other than Diovan.

Diovan and NSAIDs, including COX-2 inhibitors

Taking Diovan with medications called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) could cause kidney problems. A specific group of NSAIDs are cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitors. In rare cases, this combination can lead to acute kidney failure. This interaction is more likely in people who are older, take a diuretic (water pill), or already have kidney problems.

Examples of NSAIDs, including COX-2 inhibitors, can include:

  • ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
  • naproxen (Aleve)
  • diclofenac (Zipsor)
  • celecoxib (Celebrex)

Symptoms of acute kidney failure

Symptoms of acute kidney failure can include bloating and swelling, decreased sensation in the feet and hands, fatigue (lack of energy), pain between your ribs and hips, and nausea and vomiting.

If you have symptoms of kidney problems, including kidney failure, while using Diovan, talk with your doctor right away. These effects can usually be reversed with proper treatment.

Talking with your doctor

If you’re taking an NSAID, make sure to tell your doctor before you start taking Diovan. They can help determine whether it’s safe for you to keep taking the NSAID during your Diovan treatment. If you’re able to use these drugs together, your doctor will likely monitor your kidney function more closely than usual.

Diovan and other drugs that block the action of the renin-angiotensin system

Diovan works* by blocking the action of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS). This is the hormone system that controls blood pressure.

Using Diovan with other medications that block the action of the RAS can increase your risk for certain side effects. These include hypotension (low blood pressure) and hyperkalemia, which is a high level of potassium in the blood. Another possible side effect is kidney problems, such as acute kidney failure. For more information, please see the “Diovan side effects” section above.

Clinical studies have found that most people don’t benefit from using two kinds of medications that block the action of the RAS.

Examples of other medications that block the action of the RAS include:

Before taking Diovan, be sure to tell your doctor about all the medications you take. They can determine if any block the action of the RAS. Then your doctor can adjust your treatment plan as needed.

* For more information on how Diovan works, see the “How Diovan works” section above.

Diovan and lithium

Using Diovan with lithium may lead to an increased level of lithium in the blood, which may be dangerous.

Lithium is a medication used to treat manic episodes in people with bipolar disorder.

Before taking Diovan, be sure to tell your doctor if you’re taking lithium. They’ll likely want to monitor the level of lithium in your blood more closely while you’re taking Diovan.

Diovan and diuretics

Drugs called diuretics (water pills) can cause side effects that are similar to those of Diovan. To learn about Diovan’s side effects, see the “Diovan side effects” section above.

If you take a diuretic with Diovan, the side effects may increase in number and severity. In some cases, you may be using a diuretic if you have heart failure.

Examples of diuretics can include:

  • chlorthalidone
  • torsemide (Demadex)
  • hydrochlorothiazide (Microzide)
  • spironolactone (Aldactone, Carospir)
  • triamterene (Dyrenium)
  • furosemide (Lasix)

If you’re taking a diuretic, tell your doctor before you start treatment with Diovan. To reduce your risk for side effects from both drugs, your doctor may lower the dose of the diuretic.

Diovan and herbs and supplements

While taking Diovan, you shouldn’t use a potassium supplement unless your doctor tells you it’s safe to take.

A potassium supplement can increase your potassium level. Diovan may also increase your blood level of potassium as a side effect. Therefore, taking a potassium supplement while using Diovan may increase potassium levels even more.

Having too much potassium in your body can be dangerous. For more information on this side effect, see “Increased potassium level” in the “Diovan side effects” section above.

Before using any salt substitute containing potassium while taking Diovan, talk with your doctor to make sure it’s safe.

Diovan and foods

While taking Diovan, you shouldn’t use a salt substitute unless your doctor has told you it’s safe to do so.

Some salt substitutes use potassium in place of sodium (salt). This may increase your potassium level. Diovan itself can increase potassium levels. So using a salt substitute while taking Diovan could further increase your potassium level.

Having too much potassium in your body can be dangerous. For more information, see the “Diovan side effects” section above.

If you’re taking Diovan, talk with your doctor before using any salt substitute to make sure it’s safe for you.

Using more than the recommended dosage of Diovan can lead to serious side effects.

Don’t use more Diovan than your doctor recommends.

Overdose symptoms

Symptoms of an overdose can include:

What to do in case of overdose

If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor. You can also call the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 800-222-1222 or use their online tool. But if your symptoms are severe, call 911 or your local emergency number, or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

You should take Diovan according to your doctor’s or healthcare provider’s instructions.

Diovan comes as tablets that you swallow.

When to take

When you take Diovan may depend on what condition you’re taking the drug to treat.

If you’re taking Diovan for high blood pressure, you’ll likely take the medication once per day. You should try and take Diovan at the same time every day.

If you’re taking Diovan for heart failure or after a heart attack, you’ll likely take the medication twice per day. You should try and take your Diovan doses at the same time every day.

To help make sure that you don’t miss a dose, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm on your phone or downloading a reminder app. The timer on your phone or even a kitchen timer can work, too.

Taking Diovan with food

Diovan may be taken with or without food.

Can Diovan be crushed, split, or chewed?

It’s OK to split Diovan tablets, but they shouldn’t be crushed or chewed. The recommendation for taking Diovan after a heart attack is 20 milligrams (mg) twice daily. Therefore, a 40-mg tablet should be split to make two 20-mg tablet halves.

If you have trouble swallowing Diovan tablets, you can ask the pharmacist to make a liquid suspension using Diovan tablets. They crush the tablets and mix them with a liquid for you to drink. For more information, see “Liquid suspension form for children” in the “Diovan dosage” section above.

Diovan isn’t safe to take while pregnant. In fact, Diovan has a boxed warning regarding the use of the drug during pregnancy. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The warning alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

If you become pregnant while taking Diovan, stop taking the drug right away and call your doctor. This is because the drug can harm a developing fetus or cause miscarriage.

Diovan is a type of drug that works on the hormone system that controls blood pressure. (This is known as the renin-angiotensin system.) And this type of drug can cause the pregnancy issues mentioned above.

If you’re pregnant or plan to become pregnant, talk with your doctor. They can suggest treatment options other than Diovan.

Diovan isn’t safe to take during pregnancy. In fact, Diovan has a boxed warning regarding the use of the drug during pregnancy. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The warning alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

If you’re sexually active and you or your partner can become pregnant, talk with your doctor about your birth control needs while you’re using Diovan.

For more information about taking Diovan during pregnancy, see the “Diovan and pregnancy” section above.

The use of Diovan while breastfeeding isn’t recommended. Valsartan, the active drug in Diovan, could cause serious side effects to breastfed children.

If you’re breastfeeding or planning to breastfeed, talk with your doctor about treatment options other than Diovan.

This drug comes with several precautions.

FDA warning: Harm to developing fetus or miscarriage

This drug has a boxed warning. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A boxed warning alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

If you become pregnant while taking Diovan, stop taking the drug right away and call your doctor. This is because the drug can harm a developing fetus or cause miscarriage.

Diovan is a type of drug that works on the hormone system that controls blood pressure. (This is known as the renin-angiotensin system.) And this type of drug can cause the pregnancy issues mentioned above.

Other precautions

Before taking Diovan, talk with your doctor about your health history. Diovan may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors affecting your health. These include the ones mentioned below.

Note: For more information about the potential negative effects of Diovan, see the “Diovan side effects” section above.

Heart conditions. If you have a heart condition, you may be at risk for low blood pressure while taking Diovan. It depends on what medications you’re taking and what diet you’re following. In addition, if you have heart failure, you may be at an increased risk for hyperkalemia while using Diovan.

Before you take Diovan, be sure to tell your doctor if you have any history of heart conditions. They may monitor you closely when you first start taking Diovan. Your doctor may also adjust other medications you’re taking.

Liver problems. Diovan hasn’t been studied in people with severe liver problems, such as hepatitis or liver failure. Therefore, it isn’t known if the drug is safe or works in this group of people. Before taking Diovan, talk with your doctor about any history of liver problems you may have. They can review your treatment options with you.

Kidney problems. Drugs called angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), such as Diovan, can affect how well your kidneys work. If you already have a kidney problem (such as kidney failure, or water retention and swelling) and take Diovan, you may be at an increased risk for acute kidney failure. Your risk for hyperkalemia may also rise. Before taking Diovan, be sure to tell your doctor about any kidney problems you have. If they decide Diovan is safe for you to take, they’ll likely monitor your kidney function more closely than usual.

Allergic reaction, including angioedema. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Diovan or any of its ingredients, you shouldn’t take Diovan. Ask your doctor what other medications are better options for you.

In addition, if you’ve ever had angioedema after taking Diovan or any medication, be sure to tell your doctor before you take Diovan. They’ll likely recommend a different treatment for you.

Pregnancy. Diovan isn’t safe to take while pregnant. For more information, see the “Diovan and pregnancy” section above.

Breastfeeding. The use of Diovan while breastfeeding isn’t recommended. For more information, see the “Diovan and breastfeeding” section above.

When you get Diovan from the pharmacy, the pharmacist will add an expiration date to the label on the bottle. This date is typically 1 year from the date they dispensed the medication.

The expiration date helps guarantee that the medication is effective during this time. The current stance of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is to avoid using expired medications. If you have unused medication that has gone past the expiration date, talk with your pharmacist about whether you might still be able to use it.

Storage

How long a medication remains good can depend on many factors, including how and where you store the medication.

You should store Diovan tablets at room temperature (68°F to 77°F/20°C to 25°C). For short periods of time, such as when traveling, you can store the drug between 59°F and 86°F (15°C to 30°C). Be sure to keep Diovan in a tightly sealed container. Avoid storing this medication in areas where it could get damp or wet, such as bathrooms.

You should store Diovan liquid suspension at room temperature for up to 30 days. If you refrigerate the suspension between 35ºF and 46ºF (2ºC and 8ºC), it will last for up to 75 days.

Disposal

If you no longer need to take Diovan and have leftover medication, it’s important to dispose of it safely. This helps prevent others, including children and pets, from taking the drug by accident. It also helps keep the drug from harming the environment.

This article provides several useful tips on medication disposal. You can also ask your pharmacist for information about how to dispose of your medication.

Disclaimer: Medical News Today has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.