By: Jan Chait
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Diovan (valsartan), a medication for high blood pressure, to treat heart failure in people who cannot tolerate ACE (angiotensin-converting-enzyme) inhibitors.
Diovan, an angiotension II receptor blocker (ARB), is the first drug in its class to gain approval for therapy beyond controlling blood pressure, according to a news release from Novartis, of East Hanover, New Jersey, which makes the drug.
“Nearly five million Americans have heart failure, and 1,500 new cases are discovered every day,” Jay N. Cohn, MD, noted in the news release. Cohn is professor of medicine in the Cardiovascular Division of the University of Minnesota Medical School and lead investigator of the Valsartan Heart Failure Trial (Val-HeFT).
Heart failure is caused by many factors, including a heart attack or other injury to the heart, abnormalities in heart valves or muscle walls, clogged arteries or long-term high blood pressure.