Valsartan is a specific angiotensin II receptor antagonist with high selectivity for the AT<sub>1</sub> receptor subtype. After oral administration of single or repeated once-daily doses, valsartan 40–80 mg inhibits the pressor response to angiotensin II for 24 hours. In patients with mild-to-moderate hypertension, efficacy of valsartan appears to be independent of age, sex, and race, and is at least equivalent to that of calcium antagonists, ACE inhibitors, or thiazide diuretics. Response rate to valsartan 160 mg o.d. is significantly greater than after receiving losartan 100 mg o.d. Valsartan has additive effects with other antihypertensive drugs and combination therapy is effective in severe hypertension and in hypertension with renal insufficiency, where renal function is well maintained. Valsartan has good tolerability with a side-effect profile indistinguishable from placebo and superior to that of comparable drugs. Valsartan does not cause cough or adverse metabolic effects; first dose hypotension and rebound hypertension on abrupt withdrawal have not been encountered. Valsartan has clear clinical advantage in the management of hypertension. Its impact on prognosis in patients with a high risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality is under evaluation.