National Stroke Foundation

Diovan (valsartan)

The following drug information is obtained from various newswires, published medical journal articles, and medical conference presentations.


Approval Status:

Approved January 1997 (capsules); July 2001 (tablets)

Specific Treatments:


General Information

Diovan, in both capsule and tablet formulations, has been approved for the treatment of hypertension in adult subjects. It offers blood pressure control comparable to current leading antihypertensive therapies (lisinopril and enalapril) and an outstanding side effect profile.

As with other drugs that affect the renin-angiotensin system, Diovan can cause fetal and neonatal morbidity and death when administered to pregnant women. Diovan therapy should be discontinued as soon as pregnancy is detected.

Hypertension, the term used for abnormally high blood pressure, is the most common health problem in the United States. Over 50 million Americans suffer from hypertension, but many are unaware of the problem and remain untreated. Left untreated, it can lead to serious and life-threatening events including stroke and heart attack.

Clinical Results

Diovan capsules were evaluated in seven placebo-controlled, four to 12 week trials in adult subjects with baseline diastolic blood pressures of 95-115. One trial included subjects over the age of 65. In total, over 2000 subjects were randomized to various doses of the drug and about 800 were treated with placebo.

Results indicated that administration of Diovan to hypertensive subjects led to a significant decrease in sitting, supine, and standing systolic and diastolic blood pressure, usually with little or no orthostatic change.

Side Effects

Adverse events associated with the use of Diovan capsules and tablets may include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Viral infection
  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal pain

Warning - Diovan should not be taken during pregnancy.

Mechanism of Action

Diovan (valsartan) blocks the vasoconstrictor and aldosterone-secreting effects of angiotensin II by selectively blocking the binding of angiotensin II to the AT1 receptor in many tissues. Angiotensin II is the principal pressor agent of the renin-angiotensin system, with effects including vasocantstriction, stimulation of synthesis and release of aldosterone, cardiac stimulation, and renal reabsorption of sodium.

Additional Information

For additional information on Diovan, please visit Diovan.