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Drugs

Side Effects
Serious

Increased angina attacks, dizziness upon arising from a sitting or lying position, shortness of breath, weakness, very slow heartbeat. Call your doctor immediately.
Common

Headache; flushing in the face and body; water retention causing decreased urination, swelling of the feet and ankles, weight gain.
Less Common

Fatigue, dizziness, drowsiness, palpitations, nausea, abdominal pain.
Amlodipine


Drug Class:
Calcium channel blocker

Available OTC?: No

Available Generic?: No

Norvasc 10 mg
(Pfizer)
Available In
Why Prescribed
How It Works
Range and Frequency
Onset of Effect
Duration of Action
Dietary Advice
Storage
Missed Dose
Stopping the Drug
Prolonged Use
Over 60
Driving and Hazardous Work
Alcohol
Pregnancy
Breast Feeding
Infants and Children
Special Concerns
Overdose Symptoms
What to Do
Drug Interactions
Food Interactions
Disease Interactions


Available In
Tablets, capsules

Why Prescribed
To relieve angina (chest pain associated with heart disease) and to treat hypertension.

How It Works
Amlodipine interferes with the movement of calcium into heart muscle cells and the smooth muscle cells in the walls of the arteries. This action relaxes blood vessels (causing them to widen), which lowers blood pressure, increases the blood supply to the heart, and decreases the heart's overall workload.

Range and Frequency
2.5 to 10 mg per day in one daily dose (usually in the morning, with breakfast).

Onset of Effect
One to two hours.

Duration of Action
24 hours.

Dietary Advice
It can be taken with or after meals to minimize stomach irritation. Be sure to follow a low-sodium, low-fat diet if your doctor so advises.

Storage
Store in a tightly sealed container away from heat and direct light.

Missed Dose
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember, unless the next dose is less than four hours away. In that case, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular schedule. Do not double the next dose.

Stopping the Drug
Take as prescribed for the full treatment period. Do not stop taking this drug suddenly, as this may cause potentially serious health problems. If therapy is to be discontinued, dosage should be reduced gradually, according to doctor's instructions.

Prolonged Use
In some cases amlodipine therapy may be required for years or even a lifetime. Consult your doctor about the need for medical or laboratory tests of heart activity, blood pressure, kidney function, and liver function.

Over 60
Adverse reactions may be more likely and more severe in older patients. Smaller doses (2.5 mg per day) are generally prescribed.

Driving and Hazardous Work
Avoid driving or engaging in hazardous work until you determine how this medication affects you. Be cautious if it causes dizziness.

Alcohol
Alcohol should be used with caution because it may increase the effect of the drug and cause an excessive drop in blood pressure.

Pregnancy
Amlodipine should not be taken during the first three months of pregnancy and should be used in the last six months only if your doctor so advises.

Breast Feeding
Amlodipine should not be taken by nursing mothers.

Infants and Children
Amlodipine is not usually prescribed for patients under the age of 12.

Special Concerns
Amlodipine should not be taken by anyone who has had a prior adverse reaction to it. When taking amlodipine, avoid sudden changes in position, especially standing up quickly after sitting or lying down; such movements may cause dizziness.

Overdose Symptoms
Severe drop in blood pressure resulting in weakness, dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, or slurred speech.

What to Do
Call your doctor, emergency medical services (EMS), or your local hospital immediately.

Drug Interactions
Other heart drugs taken with amlodipine can cause heart rate and rhythm problems. In general, consult your doctor if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription drugs.

Food Interactions
Avoid excessive intake of foods high in sodium.

Disease Interactions
Consult your doctor if you have kidney disease, liver disease, high blood pressure, or any heart disease other than coronary artery disease.

 

Date Published: 04/13/2005
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