Valsartan Too Expensive? See If You Can Switch to a Cheaper Option

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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If you’ve been on Diovan or the generic version valsartan, and are being told by your insurance it will no longer be covered—you need a plan. Can you switch to losartan (Cozaar) or another medication to save money?

Though valsartan is the generic version of Diovan it’s still expensive. Both valsartan and losartan are ARBs (angiotensin receptor blockers); out of the ARBs, losartan has been around the longest.

Here are some simple things to know if you’ve been told to switch your ARB to losartan:

What about an ACE Inhibitor?

They work, are cheap, and ARBs are basically ACE Inhibitors without the cough side effect. For blood pressure control lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril) is a very good choice and a once daily dose goes the full 24 hours. The maximum dose of lisinopril is 20 mg daily because after that it isn’t much more effective. A dry, tickly cough is the most common adverse effect of ACE inhibitors (this doesn’t happen with the ARBs listed above) that may develop in around 10% of folks. Oh, and lisinopril is cheap. Really cheap.

Dr O.

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