How can I minimize the side effects of Diovan HCT?

There are a number of things you can do to minimize the side effects of the blood pressure medication Diovan HCT (valsartan and hydrochlorothiazide). Before you start taking it, give your doctor a detailed medical history. Be sure to mention if you have ever had an allergic reaction to any medication, or if you've ever experienced facial swelling after taking blood pressure medicine. Also be sure to let your doctor know if you have lupus, asthma or heart failure, have ever had problems with your liver, kidneys, gallbladder (or gallstones), or if tests have ever showed you have high levels of uric acid or calcium, or low levels of potassium in your blood. You should also give your doctor and pharmacist a list of all your other medicines (prescription and nonprescription), as well as any supplements that you take.

Once you're on Diovan HCT, you can minimize side effects by doing the following:
  • Take it exactly as your doctor tells you to. Do not take more or less, or take it more or less frequently than prescribed. Do not stop taking Diovan HCT without talking with your doctor first.
  • Check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting any new drug or supplement.
  • Avoid becoming pregnant. Diovan HCT may cause harm or even be fatal to a developing fetus. If you do become pregnant while taking Diovan HCT, stop taking it immediately and call your doctor.
  • Do not breastfeed. Diovan HCT may pass into breast milk and possibly harm a nursing infant.  
  • Do not take potassium supplements or use salt substitutes containing potassium unless your doctor tells you to.
  • Do not drink alcohol.
  • Keep your medical appointments. Your doctor may need to monitor you closely while you take Diovan HCT.
Call your doctor or 911 immediately if you experience:
  • signs of allergic reaction, including chest tightness, trouble breathing, hives, itching or swelling in your hands, face, mouth or throat
  • signs of kidney problems, including swelling in your feet, ankles or hands, or unexplained weight gain
  • skin rash
  • symptoms of low blood pressure (hypotension), including blurry vision, confusion, lightheadedness, fainting, sleepiness or weakness
  • decrease in vision or eye pain
  • signs of electrolyte imbalance, including dry mouth, thirst, drowsiness, weakness, restlessness, confusion, seizures, urinating less, racing heartbeat, nausea and vomiting, muscle fatigue, pain or cramps

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