Why it’s important to take this medication
Sacubitril/valsartan (Entresto™) is a new drug that has been approved in the treatment of heart failure. It has been shown to help people with heart failure live longer and lower the need to be hospitalized to treat heart failure.
Action of Sacubitril/valsartan:
Sacubitril/valsartan is a combination of two medications, sacubitril (a neprilysin inhibitor) and valsartan (an angiotension II receptor blocker, ARB). It has two main actions:
- It works to block the effect of harmful hormones that cause blood vessels to constrict and hold on to salt and water.
- It also prevents the breakdown of beneficial hormones that cause blood vessels to relax, allowing the body to get rid of extra salt and water.
These two effects together help to decrease the strain on a weakened heart muscle.
How Sacubitril/valsartan should be taken:
Sacubitril/valsartan is a tablet that is taken twice a day. It can be taken with or without food. It should be taken the same times each day. It is used with other medications to treat heart failure.
It comes in three different strengths. It is started at a low dose and is usually increased over a few weeks by your health care provider.
Sacubitril/valsartan is used in place of an Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE) inhibitor or Angiotensin Receptor Blocker (ARB). If you are taking an ACE inhibitor you must stop it and wait a full 36 hours before starting EntrestoTM. Your health care provider will talk to you more about this.
The most common side effects of Sacubitril/valsartan include:
- Dizziness due to low blood pressure
- Dry cough
- An increased blood potassium level. Your health care provider will periodically monitor your blood tests.
- Worsening kidney function. Your health care provider will periodically monitor your blood tests.
- Feeling fatigued or tired
Severe side effects may include:
Call your health care provider immediately if you develop any of these side effects:
- An allergic reaction, such as rash, hives, blisters of peeling skin
- An irregular heart beat
- Feeling like you might faint or pass out
- Feeling very weak
- Worsening shortness of breath
- A decrease in the amount of urine that you are passing
- An allergic reaction called angioedema. This is swelling of the face, lips, tongue and throat that may cause difficulty in breathing. It is a very rare side effect but it can be life threatening. If you develop any of these symptoms while taking Sacubitril/valsartan, you should call 911, or go to the emergency department.
What should I remember while taking this medication?
- To avoid getting dizzy, stand up slowly from a sitting position or when lying down.
- Tell your health care provider or pharmacist of any prescription and non-prescription medications you are taking, including vitamins/minerals and herbal supplements.
- Tell your health care provider if you are taking salt substitutes as they may also contain potassium.
- Taking Sacubitril/valsartan with potassium supplements can increase your blood potassium level. Check with your health care provider before using potassium supplements. You may require blood tests to check your potassium level.
- If you are pregnant or considering becoming pregnant, it is important to discuss this with your health care provider. Sacubitril/valsartan should not be taken if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
What should I do if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the dose you missed. Take the next dose at the regular time. Do not take 2 doses at the same time. If you are unsure of what to do, speak to your health care provider or pharmacist.