Valsartan is a potent antagonist of the type 1 angiotensin receptor (AT 1). By blocking the actions of angiotensin II on the AT 1, it inhibits vasoconstriction and synthesis of aldosterone thus lowering systemic blood pressure. Valsartan has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of hypertension in children aged 6 years and older. Valsartan can be dosed once a day with a sustained 24-hour effect on blood pressure reduction. The starting dose recommended in children is 1.3 mg/kg once daily (maximum 40 mg) which needs adjustment according to blood pressure response (dose range 1.3-2.7 mg/kg daily; up to 160 mg). A suspension form (4 mg/mL) is available for children who cannot swallow tablets. In patients aged 6 to 16 years, valsartan treatment (from a low dose of 10-20 mg to a high dose of 80-160 mg) resulted in dose-dependent reductions of 7.9-11.5 mmHg in systolic blood pressure and 4.6-7.4 mmHg in diastolic blood pressure. In 1- to 5-year-olds, valsartan (from a low dose of 5-10 mg to a high dose of 40-80 mg) reduced the systolic blood pressure by 8.4-8.6 mmHg and the diastolic blood pressure by 5.5 mmHg. Similar to adults and other antihypertensive medications, the most frequent side effect in children subsequent to valsartan use is headache. Current studies have not shown adverse effects on linear growth, weight gain, head growth, or development in children aged 1 to 5 years subsequent to valsartan use. Based on limited pediatric data, valsartan appears to be well tolerated and efficacious in reducing elevated blood pressure.
- Angiotensin receptor blockers