Uses of Amlodipine
Amlodipine is used alone or in combination with other medications to treat high blood pressure in adults and children 6 years and older. It is also used to treat certain types of angina (chest pain) and coronary artery disease (narrowing of the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart). Amlodipine is in a class of medications called calcium channel blockers. It lowers blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels so the heart does not have to pump as hard. It controls chest pain by increasing the supply of blood to the heart. If taken regularly, amlodipine controls chest pain, but it does not stop chest pain once it starts. Your doctor may prescribe a different medication to take when you have chest pain.
High blood pressure is a common condition and when not treated, can cause damage to the brain, heart, blood vessels, kidneys, and other parts of the body. Damage to these organs may cause heart disease, a heart attack, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure, loss of vision, and other problems. In addition to taking medication, making lifestyle changes will also help to control your blood pressure. These changes include eating a diet that is low in fat and salt, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising at least 30 minutes most days, not smoking, and using alcohol in moderation.
Side Effects of Amlodipine
Amlodipine may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- swelling of the hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- upset stomach
- stomach pain
- dizziness or lightheadedness
- excessive tiredness
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment:
- more frequent or more severe chest pain
- rapid, pounding, or irregular heartbeat
Warnings & Precautions
Before taking amlodipine:
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to amlodipine, any other medications, or any ingredients in amlodipine tablets or suspension. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: certain medications for seizures such as carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Equetro, Tegretol), phenytoin (Dilantin, Phenytek), and phenobarbital; clarithromycin (Biaxin, in Prevpac); cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune); efavirenz (Sustiva); indinavir (Crixivan); itraconazole (Onmel, Sporanox); ketoconazole (Nizoral); lovastatin (Altoprev, in Advicor); nefazodone; nelfinavir (Viracept); nevirapine (Viramune); rifabutin (Mycobutin); rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane, in Rifamate), ritonavir (Norvir, in Kaletra), simvastatin (Zocor, in Simcor, in Vytorin), and tacrolimus (Astragraf SL, Prograf). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had heart failure or heart or liver disease.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking amlodipine, call your doctor.
Amlodipine comes as a tablet and a suspension (liquid) to take by mouth. It is usually taken once a day. To help you remember to take amlodipine, take it around the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take amlodipine exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Shake the suspension well before each use to mix the medication evenly.
Your doctor will probably start you on a low dose of amlodipine and gradually increase your dose.
Amlodipine helps to control high blood pressure, angina, and coronary artery disease, but does not cure these conditions. Continue to take amlodipine even if you feel well. Do not stop taking amlodipine without talking to your doctor.
Keep all appointments with your doctor. Your blood pressure should be checked regularly to determine your response to amlodipine.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
All information has been provided courtesy of MedLinePlus from the National Library of Medicine and from the FDA.