IMPORTANT: HOW TO USE THIS INFORMATION: This is a summary and does NOT have all possible information about this product. This information does not assure that this product is safe, effective, or appropriate for you. This information is not individual medical advice and does not substitute for the advice of your health care professional. Always ask your health care professional for complete information about this product and your specific health needs.
AMLODIPINE/VALSARTAN/HYDROCHLOROTHIAZIDE - ORAL
COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Exforge HCT
WARNING: This drug can cause serious (possibly fatal) harm to an unborn baby if used during pregnancy. Therefore, it is important to prevent pregnancy while taking this medication. Consult your doctor for more details and to discuss the use of reliable forms of birth control while taking this medication. If you are planning pregnancy, become pregnant, or think you may be pregnant, contact your doctor immediately.
USES: This product is used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension). Lowering high blood pressure helps prevent strokes, heart attacks, and kidney problems. This product contains 3 medications: amlodipine, valsartan, and hydrochlorothiazide. Amlodipine is a calcium channel blocker, and valsartan is an angiotensin receptor blocker. They both work differently to relax the blood vessels so that blood can flow through the body more easily. Hydrochlorothiazide is called a "water pill" (diuretic) and causes your body to get rid of extra salt and water. This effect may increase the amount of urine you make when you first start the medication. It also helps to relax the blood vessels so that blood can flow through the body more easily. These medications are used together when 2 drugs are not controlling your blood pressure. Your doctor may direct you to start taking the individual medications first, and then switch you to this combination product if it is the best dose combination for you.
HOW TO USE: Read the Patient Information Leaflet provided by your pharmacist before you start taking this product and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, consult your doctor or pharmacist. Take this medication by mouth with or without food, usually once daily or as directed by your doctor. If you take this drug too close to bedtime, you may need to wake up to urinate. Therefore, it is best to take this medication at least 4 hours before your bedtime. If you have any questions about how and when to take this medication, ask your doctor or pharmacist. The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. Use this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time each day. It is important to continue taking this medication even if you feel well. Most people with high blood pressure do not feel sick. It may take up to 2 weeks before you get the full benefit of this drug. If you also take certain drugs to lower your cholesterol (bile acid-binding resins such as cholestyramine or colestipol), take this product at least 4 hours before or at least 4 to 6 hours after these medications. Tell your doctor if your condition does not improve or if it worsens (your blood pressure readings remain high or increase).
SIDE EFFECTS: Dizziness, lightheadedness, or headache may occur as your body adjusts to the medication. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly. To reduce the risk of dizziness and lightheadedness, get up slowly when rising from a sitting or lying position. Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects. This product may cause a loss of too much body water (dehydration) and salt/minerals. Tell your doctor right away if you have any symptoms of dehydration or mineral loss, including: extreme thirst, very dry mouth, muscle cramps/weakness, fast/slow/irregular heartbeat, confusion, decreased urination. Tell your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: joint pain, swelling hands/ankles/feet, decrease in vision, eye pain, symptoms of a high potassium blood level (such as muscle weakness, slow/irregular heartbeat). Tell your doctor immediately if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur: signs of infection (such as fever, chills, persistent sore throat), unusual change in the amount of urine (not including the normal increase in urine when you first start this drug), muscle pain/tenderness, yellowing eyes/skin, dark urine, severe stomach/abdominal pain. A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any of the following symptoms of a serious allergic reaction: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing. This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist. In the US - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
PRECAUTIONS: Before taking this product, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to either amlodipine, valsartan, or hydrochlorothiazide; or to other angiotensin receptor blockers (such as losartan); or to ACE inhibitors (such as lisinopril); or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details. Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: an inability to make urine (anuria), kidney disease (such as renal artery stenosis), liver disease, severe loss of body water and/or minerals (volume depletion, dehydration), bile duct blockage, heart valve disorder (such aortic/mitral stenosis), untreated mineral imbalance (such as high/low potassium, low magnesium, high calcium), lupus, gout, high levels of fats in the blood (cholesterol/triglycerides). This drug may make you dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness until you are sure you can perform such activities safely. Limit alcoholic beverages. If you have diabetes, this product may change your blood sugar levels. Check your blood glucose levels regularly as directed by your doctor. Tell your doctor immediately if you have symptoms of high blood sugar such as increased thirst and urination. Your anti-diabetic medication or diet may need to be adjusted. Before having surgery or a procedure, tell your doctor or dentist that you are taking this medication. This product may affect your potassium levels. Before using potassium supplements or salt substitutes that contain potassium, consult your doctor or pharmacist. This medication may make you more sensitive to the sun. Avoid prolonged sun exposure, tanning booths, and sunlamps. Use a sunscreen and wear protective clothing when outdoors. Too much sweating, diarrhea, or vomiting may cause you to feel lightheaded. Report prolonged diarrhea or vomiting to your doctor. Older adults may be more sensitive to the effects of this product, especially dizziness, kidney effects. This medication is not recommended for use during pregnancy due to the risk for harm to an unborn baby. Consult your doctor for more details. (See also Warning section.) It is unknown if amlodipine or valsartan pass into breast milk. Hydrochlorothiazide passes into breast milk. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor before breast-feeding.
DRUG INTERACTIONS: See also Precautions section. The effects of some drugs can change if you take other drugs or herbal products at the same time. This can increase your risk for serious side effects or may cause your medications not to work correctly. These drug interactions are possible, but do not always occur. Your doctor or pharmacist can often prevent or manage interactions by changing how you use your medications or by close monitoring. To help your doctor and pharmacist give you the best care, be sure to tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) before starting treatment with this product. While using this product, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any other medicines you are using without your doctor's approval. Some products that may interact with this drug include: aliskiren, cisapride, cyclosporine, dofetilide, lithium, drugs that may increase the level of potassium in the blood (such as birth control pills containing drospirenone). Check the labels on all your medicines (such as cough-and-cold products, diet aids, or NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, naproxen) because they may contain ingredients that could increase your blood pressure. Ask your pharmacist for more details. This product may interfere with certain laboratory tests (including parathyroid test, protein-bound iodide test), possibly causing false test results. Make sure laboratory personnel and all your doctors know you use this drug. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use. Share this list with your doctor and pharmacist to lessen your risk for serious medication problems.
OVERDOSE: If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call the US National Poison Hotline at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: severe dizziness, fainting, fast heartbeat.
NOTES: Do not share this medication with others. Lifestyle changes such as stress reduction programs, exercise, and dietary changes may increase the effectiveness of this medicine. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about lifestyle changes that might benefit you. Laboratory and/or medical tests (including kidney function, blood mineral levels such as potassium) should be performed from time to time to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details. Check your blood pressure regularly while taking this medication, especially when you first start this drug or when your dose is changed. Learn how to monitor your own blood pressure at home, and share the results with your doctor.
MISSED DOSE: If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.
STORAGE: Store at room temperature at 77 degrees F (25 degrees C) away from light and moisture. Brief storage between 59-86 degrees F (15-30 degrees C) is permitted. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medicines away from children and pets. Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company for more details about how to safely discard your product.
Information last revised August 2012. Copyright(c) 2012 First Databank, Inc.