Amlodipine (Norvasc) is prescribed to treat high blood pressure. It does this by opening up the blood vessels to improve your blood flow. However, it can also come with some unpleasant side effects. The most common of these are nausea, headaches, mild swelling and stomach pain. To avoid these side effects, you might be looking for an alternative.
What are the Alternatives to Amlodipine?
Few medications are as effective as Amlodipine, but Felodipine (Plendil) and Lercanidipine come close. Like Amlodipine, Felodipine and lercanidipine are calcium-channel blockers, so they have a very similar effect. You might experience flushing, headache or swelling while taking these medications. Felodipine and Lercanidipine are generally considered safer than Amlodipine, but not quite as effective. If you aren’t happy with your body’s response to Amlodipine, you should ask your doctor about switching to another medication.
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What are the Alternatives to Calcium-Channel Blockers?
Other medications which use different mechanisms to reduce blood pressure are also available:
A chemical called angiotensin II causes your blood vessels to become narrower when it enters the bloodstream. A class of medications called ACE inhibitors block the production of angiotensin II by the body, helping to keep the blood vessels relaxed. Enalapril, Lisinopril, Perindopril and Ramipril are all examples of ACE inhibitors. Most people do not experience side effects from ACE inhibitors, but possible side effects can include: dizziness, fatigue, rash and headaches.
Losartan and Candesartan (Amias), also interfere with angiotensin II. They block the receptors for angiotensin II which also helps prevent your blood vessels narrowing. These have very few common side effects, with vertigo being one of the most common.
Beta Blockers, such as Atenolol and Bisoprolol, work by blocking the effects of adrenaline (epinephrine). This causes your heart to beat more slowly, with less force, which reduces your blood pressure. Side effects are uncommon, but dizziness, fatigue and nausea may occur.
Bendroflumethiazide is a type of diuretic medication. It can help reduce your blood pressure by encouraging the body to filter out more salt from the bloodstream. As the salts are removed, water is removed with them, which lowers the levels of fluid in the bloodstream, and therefore it reduces your blood pressure. There are several common side effects of Bendroflumethiazide including: digestive disturbances i.e. diarrhoea, increased blood sugar and increased calcium in the blood.
What are the Natural Treatments for High Blood Pressure?
It is often recommended that you try natural methods to lower your blood pressure, before taking medication. Lifestyle changes can improve your blood pressure without medical intervention, and therefore you don’t have to worry about the side effects.
The best way to naturally reduce your blood pressure is to take care of your diet. Cutting back on your carbohydrates and fats can lower levels of unwanted cholesterol in your body and put less stress on your heart. You can also reduce the alcohol and sodium (salt) you consume. These foods can be detrimental to your heart health. Alcohol can put pressure on your heart muscle, and it also makes it harder for your body to get rid of harmful fats.
You could also combine these methods with an exercise routine. Don’t start off with anything too strenuous, but do try to make it a program that is going to have a noticeable effect on your health. Doctors recommend doing 30 minutes of exercise that makes you feel out of breath, three times a week to stay healthy.
While it is often a good idea to try these natural treatments first, they will take greater commitment and a longer time period to accomplish the same results as you would expect to achieve with medication.
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- BNF - https://www.medicinescomplete.com/mc/bnf/current/
- EMC - https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc