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Written by Dr Kim Langdon, MD
Information last reviewed 07/15/19
Amlodipine (also known as Novasc) is an effective high blood pressure treatment, but it can also be used for angina and coronary artery disease.
Amlodipine is a type of medication known as a calcium channel blocker. Calcium channel blockers work by relaxing and widening your blood vessels, so the blood can flow more easily. This means that the blood is under less pressure inside the blood vessels. If you have high blood pressure, it is important that you take medication to manage it, as it can reduce your chances of stroke, heart disease and other conditions.
Amlodipine will start to lower blood pressure is about 24 to 48 hours after the first dose. The effect of each dose will last at least 24 hours. If you have been on Amlodipine for a long time, the effect will last several days after stopping the medication.
The effect of Amlodipine upon blood pressure varies from person to person, however, people who had a higher blood pressures to begin with have a 50% greater response than people who have close to normal blood pressure.
The active ingredient in Amlodipine is amlodipine besylate. This is a type of calcium channel blocker. This works by relaxing and dilating the blood vessels to reduce your blood pressure.
In addition to the active ingredient, amlodipine besylate, each tablet contains the following inactive ingredients: microcrystalline cellulose, dibasic calcium phosphate anhydrous, sodium starch
glycolate, and magnesium stearate.
A severe allergic reaction to Amlodipine is rare as it does not contain any active or inactive ingredients associated with allergic reactions. However, if you have previously had an allergic reaction to this medication or are specifically allergic to one of the ingredients, please refrain from taking this medication. Make sure to let your prescribing doctor know. A severe allergic reaction presents with swelling of the face, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing and a rash. Please seek medical attention if you notice any of these symptoms after taking amlodipine.
Your doctor will discuss which dosage of Amlodipine is most suitable for you to take. This will either be 2.5mg, 5mg or 10mg taken as a single dose at approximately the same time every day. It may be recommended that you take Amlodipine with or without food and in either mornings or evenings.
Amlodipine can be taken without or with food. It is usually dosed once a day.
If you miss a dose of Amlodipine you should take it as soon as possible unless it is within 6-8 hours of your next scheduled dose.
Taking too much Amlodipine could cause your blood pressure to drop dangerously low, causing fainting and other problems. If you are unsure about what to do, you should contact the prescribing physician.
The most common side effects include headache, swelling, fatigue, dizziness, and overgrowth of the gums.
Less common side effects include:
The following conditions are contraindicated for Amlodipine:
Amlodipine may interact negatively with the following medicines and supplements. You should try to avoid using any of the following medicines alongside Amlodipine. Always let the prescribing doctor know if you are taking any other medications.
Please note that some blood pressure medications such as Amlodipine can also interact with foods in the grapefruit family. These foods can allow the Amlodipine to have stronger effects, potentially causing dangerously low blood pressure. Therefore you should avoid eating or drinking the juice of:
It is likely that you will need to take high blood pressure medication, such as Amlodipine, for the rest of your life. When you take Amlodipine, your blood pressure reduce, but if you stop taking it, your blood pressure is likely to return to the higher level it was before. Taking Amlodipine will reduce your chances of heart disease, a heart attack or stroke.
Amlodipine is often the first-line treatment for high blood pressure, because of the balance between effectiveness, a low-cost and few side effects.
Studies have demonstrated that people with black ethnicity or African or Caribbean family heritage, respond better to calcium channel blockers over other antihypertensives. The exact reason behind this is not yet understood, but it is thought that there may be a genetic component that connects this ethnicity with an improved response to calcium channel blockers as a high blood pressure treatment.
One of the most common side effects of Amlodipine is swelling, especially of the legs - this happens about 5 to 15% of the time. This is not usually dangerous and should go away after stopping the medication.
Amlodipine is indicated for the treatment of high blood pressure. It has also been approved for use and coronary artery disease to treat chronic stable angina (chest pain). You should always consult with your doctor if you are using it to treat chest pain.
Amlodipine is indicated for some forms of chest pain, specifically chronic stable angina, vasospastic angina, or coronary artery disease diagnosed based on cardiac angiography. It can reduce the symptoms of chest pain and people with chronic stable angina and can reduce hospitalization due to chest pain and people with coronary artery disease. However, if you are having severe chest pain at rest or chest pain that is not going away, you should not use Amlodipine to treat that, instead, you should seek immediate medical attention.
The usual starting dose of Amlodipine is 5 mg once a day, and the maximum dose is 10 mg once a day. Some people may start on a smaller dose of 2.5 mg once a day.
Amlodipine is available as a generic medication from various manufacturers, however, the brand name Norvasc is made by Pfizer.
Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. You and your physician will determine if and how you should take any medication prescribed to you following a medical consultation.
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