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Reviewed by Dr Roy Kedem, MD
Information last reviewed 10/21/19
Felodipine is in a class of medications known as calcium channel blockers, which block the effect of calcium on the heart and blood vessels. It is primarily prescribed for treatment of high blood pressure, although in combination with other medications, it can also help treat patients with heart failure. Calcium channel blockers are also called calcium channel antagonists.
Felodipine blocks the effect of calcium on the heart and blood vessels. This, in turn, decreases the force of contraction of the heart, slows electrical conduction within the heart, and relaxes and dilates the arteries. When the smooth muscle in blood vessels (arteries) relaxes, the vessels widen, blood flows more easily, and pressure in the blood vessels is reduced, hence the reduction in overall blood pressure.
The active ingredient in this medication is felodipine.
The inactive ingredients in this medication include: hydroxypropyl cellulose, sodium stearyl fumarate, lactose, yellow iron oxide, FD&C Blue #2, titanium dioxide, yellow iron oxide and other ingredients.
Please note: inactive ingredients can vary between different generic manufacturers of Felodipine.
While it is possible to be allergic to felodipine, it is rare. You should seek emergency medical attention if you notice: a rash, wheezing, chest tightness, difficulty breathing and swelling of the face/lips/eyes. If you have previously had an allergic reaction from felodipine, you should let your prescribing doctor know and refrain from taking this medication again.
Felodipine comes in 2.5mg, 5mg and 10mg tablets. It is taken orally once a day, as prescribed. Typically, 5mg (once daily) is prescribed initially. The dosage should be adjusted as needed by your doctor at 2 week intervals. The maximum recommended dosage is 10mg once daily. Felodipine is indicated for treatment of adults only and is not recommended for children.
Felodipine should ideally be taken on an empty stomach, but if you are experiencing an upset stomach, it is a good idea to take it with a light meal. Otherwise, always take Felodipine as prescribed by you doctor, which will take into account the specifics of your condition and your previous response to treatment.
Felodipine should be taken at the same time each day and must be used consistently to maximize its benefits.
Note: The drug should not be chewed or crushed. Rather, each Felodipine pill should be swallowed whole. It is an extended-release tablet, so crushing or chewing it will release the entire drug into the system at once. This consequently increases the risk of experiencing an adverse effect. Do not use the drug only when symptoms (such as chest pain or a headache) occur. Using the medication in this manner is ineffective.
If you are prescribed this medication, you should avoid eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice. You should also avoid other fruits related to grapefruit, including bitter oranges, pomelos, tangelos, and Seville oranges. Grapefruit can increase the amount of Felodipine in the bloodstream, which can in effect, increase your medication dose when you don’t intend to. Contact your doctor or pharmacist for more details.
As most individuals who have high blood pressure do not have any symptoms, Felodipine should be taken regularly regardless of how you might feel. Do not stop taking Felodipine unless instructed to do so by your doctor. Occasionally, stopping Felodipine may require a gradual reduction in the dose rather than abrupt discontinuation. Your doctor will decide if you need to be tapered off the medication.
If you forget to take a scheduled dose of Felodipine, take it as soon as you remember. However, if you are 6 hours or less from your next scheduled dose, skip the missed dose and take the next dose at the regularly scheduled time. Do not take an extra pill to make up for the dose you missed.
If you believe you have overdosed on Felodipine, seek immediate medical attention. In addition to seeking medical attention, you can call the Poison Help Line at (800)-222-1222.
Signs of a Felodipine overdose may include dizziness, a slow heart rate, tingling sensations in your limbs, redness or flushing of the face, arms, neck and occasionally, upper chest.
Several side effects can come up with the use of this medication and they have been classified in this section.
Common side effects
Uncommon side effects
Rare side effects
The following side effects are always considered severe when they occur:
If you experience any of the side effects listed above, you should seek immediate medical attention. It is the responsibility of the patient to report any side effects from the use of the medication to their doctor.
Avoid the use of the following drugs while using Felodipine: Phenylephrine, Pseudoephedrine, and Isometheptene. However, if they must be used, the blood pressure and the heart rate must be carefully monitored, as these drugs cause a decrease in the antihypertensive effects of calcium-channel blockers.
You should keep the medication in the pack it came in while keeping it tightly closed. The drug should be kept at room temperature and avoid excessive heat and moisture. Certainly not in your bathroom.
You should ensure that when the medication is not needed anymore, it should be disposed of in ways that ensure it is out of reach of children and other people.
Note: Do not flush the medication down the toilet. You should use a medicine take-back program if it is available in your area.
All mediation, including this one should be kept out of reach of children to protect them from child poisoning. You should ensure that the caps of drugs are appropriately locked and the drugs should be locked up in a safe location and out of the reach and sight of children.
Many of the medications used to treat high blood pressure can cause erectile dysfunction (ED) in users; however, calcium channel blockers such as Felodipine are not typically known to cause ED as a side effect. Erection problems may be less common in specific drugs within this group than others – speak with your doctor to determine which one holds the lowest possibility of causing ED.
Although both Felodipine and Amlodipine belong to the same class of calcium channel blockers, studies show that Amlodipine appears to be more effective than Felodipine in treating high blood pressure, when assessed in the same dose. Such a difference in efficiency may be due to the longer rate at which Amlodipine is eliminated from the blood, as compared to Felodipine.
The medication your doctor prescribes will depend on a number of issues, including cost, efficacy, tolerability and potential drug interactions.
Felodipine begins to work on the day you start taking it; although, it may be a couple of weeks before you start to feel the full effects of the medication. You may not exhibit any symptoms of high blood pressure and, therefore, not feel any different when taking Felodipine; however, this is not an indication that the medication is not working and you must continue taking it as normal. Your doctor will regularly monitor you to clarify how well the drug is working.
Felodipine was initially discovered by Swedish company, Hassle, in 1979 and was subsequently patented as an antihypertensive drug. The medication received its FDA approval in 1991, following a three-and-a-half year review into its safety and efficacy. Felodipine is currently manufactured by American company AstraZeneca, having bought out Hassle’s ownership rights in 1998.
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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