Valsartan Too Expensive? Here Are 6 Tricks To Save

medical bag next to money
Dr. Sharon Orrange
Dr. Orrange is an Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine in the Division of Geriatric, Hospitalist and General Internal Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
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A generic drug is affordable, right? Unfortunately, not always.

In the case of generic valsartan, a medication that treats high blood pressure, a 30-day supply can cost over $100 without insurance. Plus, since valsartan is a generic, there’s little to no chance that a cheaper equivalent will come to the market.

So, how can you save?

 

 

What is valsartan?

Generic valsartan, which is also available as brand-name Diovan, is a popular angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB) that lowers blood pressure by blocking a hormone known as angiotensin II, which normally tightens the blood vessels. Valsartan is also used to treat heart failure and to reduce the risk of death in people with heart dysfunction after suffering a heart attack.

 

Savings tip #1: Use your insurance

The best way to save on valsartan is to use your insurance as valsartan is covered by most insurance plans. If you find that valsartan isn’t covered by your insurance plan, ask your doctor about an appeal. The exact process will depend on your insurance, but often requires that you work with your doctor to submit an appeal letter.

Unfortunately, with more and more people being on high-deductible health plans, you might notice that even with insurance, you could be on the hook for a large portion of your medication’s price. Luckily, there are some other ways for you to save.

 

Savings tip #2: Use a GoodRx coupon and pay only $10

GoodRx coupons can reduce the price of valsartan by as much as 90%—to as little as $10 for a 30-day supply. Just look up your exact valsartan prescription on GoodRx, print, email, or text yourself the coupon, and present it to your pharmacist before you pay.

 

 

Savings Tip #3: Switch to a cheaper ARB

If you notice that you’re paying too much out of pocket for valsartan, speak with your doctor about getting a different ARB, which might be cheaper.

In particular, see if losartan works for you. Losartan is the oldest ARB and is used to control blood pressure, slow the progression of diabetic kidney disease and decrease the risk for stroke in patients with left ventricular hypertrophy. Losartan is also a bit more affordable than valsartan—the cash price for a 30-day supply is around $50 on average, but with a GoodRx coupon, you can get the same prescription for only $5.

Losartan does have one downfall though: Most strengths have a short duration of action and do not last a full 24 hours.

 

Savings Tip #4: Switch to an ACE inhibitor

You can also speak with your doctor about taking an ACE inhibitor instead of valsartan. ACE inhibitors are cheap and they work similarly to ARBs. Lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril), for instance, is one of the most common ACE ihibitors and is effective for blood pressure control. ACE inhibitors aren’t perfect though; 10% of folks using them develop a dry, tickly cough.  

Also, did we mention that ACE inhibitors are really cheap? Lisinopril, for instance, can cost only $5 per month with a GoodRx coupon. Not bad.

 

 

Savings tip #5: Fill a 90-day supply

Filling a 90-day supply of valsartan at one time compared to a 30-day supply three times, can help keep your costs down. Keep in mind that if you’ve been getting a 30-day supply, you may need a new prescription from your doctor or approval from your insurance to fill a higher quantity. So, check with your doctor, pharmacist and/or insurance to find out if that’s the case for you.

 

Savings tip #6: Split a higher strength pill

You may be able to save up to 50% each month by splitting a higher strength pill. For example, if you take valsartan 40 mg, talk to your doctor about getting a prescription for the 80 mg tablet and then splitting the pills. Both strengths cost around $10 per month with a GoodRx coupon, so splitting the higher strength can shave off as much as 50% of your monthly cost!

Keep in mind that most pharmacies sell pill splitters for only $5.

 

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