Novartis receives FDA approval for blood pressure drug for kids, teens
Dec. 6 – The FDA has approved Novartis’ Diovan (valsartan), an angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB), for the treatment of high blood pressure in children and adolescents ages six to 16.

The East Hanover, N.J.-based Novartis said that experts suggest that the increase in incidence of high blood pressure among children and adolescents is linked to the growing pediatric obesity epidemic. Based on the National Health and Nutrition Surveys, the percentage of overweight children (six to 11 years old) increased from 13.8 percent to 16 percent between 1999 and 2004, while the share of overweight adolescents (12 to 19 years old) rose from 14 percent to 18.2 percent during the same period.

Diovan specifically blocks a hormone that causes arteries to constrict, which can cause high blood pressure, according to Novartis. Diovan is not indicated for treatment in children under six years old.