Diovan HCT (Valsartan/Hydrochlorothiazide) and/or alternatives
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General Information on Diovan HCT
If you are suffering from high blood pressure, your doctor may suggest that you buy Diovan HCT. It is a medication that belongs to the group of angiotensin II receptor antagonists. The medication is prepared from Valsartan and hydrochlorothiazide. Valsartan is an angiotensin receptor blocker that helps in the relaxation of blood vessels. Hydrochlorothiazide is a diuretic that causes excess salt to get removed from the body through frequent urination. Diovan HCT works by improving the flow of blood through blood vessels and by preventing the vessels from narrowing. As a result, the medication is also helpful in preventing heart attacks and damage caused by diabetes, apart from treating hypertension or high blood pressure.
Diovan HCT Side Effects
Dizziness is the most common side effect of Diovan HCT and disappears in a few days, but you must talk to your doctor if it persists. Chest pain, fast heartbeat, numbness, fainting, weakness, swelling and dry mouth are other possible side effects that may occur. Less common Diovan HCT side effects may include insomnia, headache, anxiety, loss of appetite, diarrhea, constipation, skin rashes and itching, sore throat, cough and loss of interest in sex. Most of these side effects have been reported by only a few patients using the medication. Discuss them with your doctor before you buy Diovan HCT and report their occurrence while using it.
Due to the possible damage that Diovan HCT can cause to a fetus, the medication is not prescribed for pregnant women. Though its side effects for a nursing mother have not been established, you must talk to your doctor if you are breastfeeding. Patients suffering from liver and kidney disorders, diabetes and allergies and those who have had congestive heart failure in the past should discuss the same with their doctors before using the medication. It is important to monitor your blood pressure regularly while taking Diovan HCT. Don’t get up fast from a lying or sitting position while taking this medication as it can cause dizziness. Be safe while performing any task involving machines and while driving a vehicle. Restrict your exposure to sun as the medication may make you sensitive to sunlight.
Diovan HCT Dosage
Usually, the initial dosage is Diovan HCT 80/12.5mg or 160/12.5mg administered once a day. Your doctor may take some time to adjust Diovan HCT dosage depending on your specific condition. A dosage of up to Diovan HCT 320/25mg once a day may be prescribed by the doctor. You may take the medication with or without food. Dose adjustment is not required in the case of older patients. If you miss the dose, take it immediately if there are a few hours left for the next dose. Skip the missed dose if it is already the time for the next dose. An overdose may lead to abnormal heartbeat and increased state of dizziness, and you must immediately report the same to your doctor.
Diovan HCT Interactions
Alcohol may interact with this drug to lower the blood pressure and thus, it must be avoided while taking Diovan HCT. Potassium supplements should also be avoided. Cholestyramine and colestipol may interfere with the absorption of Diovan HCT. Antidiabetic drugs, muscle relaxants, lithium based medications, pressor amines, and other antihypertensive drugs must also be reported to your doctor before starting Diovan HCT.
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What is a "Generic" medication/drug?
Generic drugs are medications that have comparable medicinal ingredients as the original brand name drug, but which are generally cheaper in price. Nearly 1 in 3 drugs dispensed are "generic". They undergo testing to ensure that they are similar to their "brand" counterparts in:
- Active Ingredient (e.g. "Pravastatin" is the active ingredient in brand name Pravachol)
- Dosage (e.g. 10 mg of the active ingredient)
- Safety (e.g. same or similar side effects, drug interactions)
- Performance (e.g. 10 mg of a "generic" can be substituted for 10 mg of the "brand" and have the same therapeutic result)
- Intended use (e.g. both "generic" and "brand" would be prescribed for the same conditions)
What this means is that "generic" medications can be used as a substitute of their brand equivalents with the comparable therapeutic results. There are a few exceptions (examples are outlined at the end of this page) and as always you should consult your physician before switching from a brand name medications to a generic or vice versa.
What differences are there between generic and brand?
While generics and brand equivalent drugs contain the same active ingredients, they may be different in the following ways:
- Appearance (e.g. the scoring or markings)
The color, shape and size of the medication come from the fillers that are added to the active ingredients to make the drug. These fillers that are added to the drug have no medical use and do not to change the effectiveness of the final product. A generic drug must contain comparable active ingredients and must have a comparable strength and dosage as the original brand name equivalent. Generic drugs can be more cost effective than purchasing the brand name.
Why do generics cost less than the brand name equivalents?
When a new drug is "invented", the company that discovered it has a patent on it that gives them the exclusive production rights for this medication. Once the patent expires in a country, other companies can bring the product to market under their own name. This patent prevents other companies from copying the drug during that time so they can earn back their Research and Development costs through being the exclusive supplier of the product. After the patent expires however, other companies can develop a "generic" version of the product. These versions generally are offered at much lower prices because the companies do not have the same development costs as the original company who developed the medication.
The main thing to realize here though is that the two products are therapeutically equivalent. They may look different, and be called something different.
How are Generic drugs tested to ensure quality and efficacy?
Generally speaking, the two most generally accepted methods to prove the safety of a generic version of a drug are to either repeat most of the chemistry, animal and human studies originally done, or to show that the drug performs comparably with the original brand name drug. This second option is called a "comparative bioavailability" study. During this type of study, volunteers are given the original drug, and then separately later the generic drug. The rates at which the drug is delivered to the patient (into their blood stream or otherwise absorbed) are measured to ensure they are the same. Because the same active ingredient is used the major concern is just that it delivers the common chemical(s) at the same rate so that they have the same effect. Please note that the methods that the manufacturers use may vary from country to country.