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Amlodipine Dosage, Uses, Side Effects, and Prescription

Amlodipine uses and side effects

Amlodipine Dosage, Uses, Side Effects, and Prescription

Medically reviewed by Dr. Mavra Farrukh

Overview

High blood pressure is a known condition that can cause damage to the blood vessels, heart, kidneys, brain, and other body parts. Damage to these organs may result in heart disease, heart attack, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure, loss of vision, and other problems. In addition to taking medication, lifestyle changes will also help control your blood pressure. These changes include eating a diet that is low in fat and salt, keeping a healthy weight, not smoking, exercising at least 30 minutes a day, and using alcohol in moderation.

Amlodipine has the most extended half-life at 30 to 50 hours as compared to nifedipine and other medications in the dihydropyridine class. The benefit of such a long half-life has once-daily dosing. Amlodipine is available as amlodipine besylate, which was initially approved in 1987 by the FDA. This article highlights all the essential information about this medicine, its uses, side effects and all precautions you need to take while using it.

What is Amlodipine?

Amlodipine is in a class of medications known as calcium channel blockers and, sold under the brand name Norvasc among others, and is mainly used for the treatment of angina and hypertension. However, the latest findings have revealed that its efficacy is not limited to treating cardiovascular diseases, as it has been shown to possess antioxidant activity and plays a vital role in apoptosis. Therefore, it is also employed in treating cerebrovascular stroke, neurodegenerative diseases, leukemia, breast cancer, and so forth, alone or in combination with other drugs. Amlodipine is a photosensitive drug and requires protection from light. Several workers have tried formulating various conventional and nonconventional dosage forms of Amlodipine. Your doctor may prescribe a different medication when you have chest pain.

Diseases you can Treat with Amlodipine.

Amlodipine is used with or without other drugs to treat high blood pressure. Lowering high blood pressure assists in preventing strokes, heart attacks, and kidney problems. Amlodipine is also used to avoid certain types of chest pain (angina). It may increase your ability to exercise and decrease the frequency of angina attacks. 

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How Should This Medicine be Used?

It would help if you took amlodipine once a day. You can take it at any time, but rest assured that you use it around the same time each day. You may take amlodipine tablets and liquid with or without food. Swallow whole amlodipine tablets and drink water with both the pills and the juice. If it’s convenient, you can dissolve the drugs in a glass of water, but you need to drink it immediately.

If you’re using amlodipine in a liquid form, it will come with a spoon or plastic syringe that will help you to measure the correct dose. But If you do not have one, ask your pharmacist for one. Please do not use a kitchen teaspoon, as it will not measure the right amount of medicine.

In case you still need to take a dose of Amlodipine, then take it as soon as you remember on the same day and then carry on as usual.

If you need to remember to take the dose for the whole day, jump over the missed dose and take your amount the next day at the usual time. Take only one dose at a time to make up for a forgotten dose.

If you forget doses often, then set the alarm to remind you. 

If you take too much

Taking more than your prescribed dose of amlodipine can make you feel sleepy and dizzy. The amount of amlodipine that can advance to an overdose depends on the situation.

Consult one of our doctors online regarding the dose specifications of Amlodipine 

What Special Precautions Should I Follow?

  • Do not stop using this medicine at once if you have been using it regularly for several weeks. A sudden stop may cause you chest pain, or high blood pressure may come back or get worse. 
  • You may get a headache that remains for a short time after taking a dose of this medicine. But if this effect continues for a long time or the headaches are severe, consult immediately with a doctor.
  • Swelling, tenderness or bleeding of the gums may come in some people when they start treatment with this medicine. Flossing and brushing your teeth regularly and massaging your gums may help prevent this. 
  • Never take other drugs unless you have discussed them with your doctor. Which may include prescription or nonprescription over-the-counter [OTC] medicines for hay fever, sinus problems, appetite control, asthma, colds and cough, and herbal or vitamin supplements.
  • Never take amlodipine with grapefruit juice. Having large amounts of grapefruit juice or grapefruit can increase the side effects worse. Stop eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice while taking amlodipine.
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting may also happen if you exercise or if the weather is hot. Large sweating can cause loss of too much water which may result in low blood pressure. Do extra care during exercise or in hot weather.
  • Talk to our doctor right away if you are having chest pain or discomfort.

Dosing Information

The dose is different for different patients. Under mentioned information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your amount is different, only change it if your doctor tells you to.

The amount of medicine you take totally depends on the strength of the treatment. Also, the number of doses you take daily, the length of time you take, and the time allowed between doses depend on the medical issue for which you are using the medicine.

  • Oral dosage forms (tablets, solution, and suspension):
    Angina (chest pain)
    For Adults. 5 to 10 milligrams (mg) per day. Your doctor may adjust your dose as per the required condition. However, the amount is usually at most 10 mg per day.
    For Children. Your doctor must determine the use and dose.
    High blood pressure
    For Adults. 5 milligrams (mg) per day. Some patients may start on 2.5 mg per day. Your doctor may adjust your dose as per the required condition. But the dose is usually at most 10 mg per day.
    For Children (6-17 years of age). 2.5 to 5 mg per day. Your doctor may adjust your dose as per the required condition. However, the amount is usually at most 5 mg per day.
    For Children (less than six years of age). The dose must be recommended by your doctor.
  • Missed Dose. Take the dose as soon as possible. But, if it is time for your next dose, skip the already missed dose and return to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take double doses. Only take it if it has been at most twelve hours since you missed your last dose.

Discuss what dose suits your condition with one of our doctors online 

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In Case of an Emergency/ Overdose

Amlodipine overdose can be potentially fatal (negative physiologic consequences including severe hypotension and even death due to metabolic and hemodynamic compromise) owing to non – cardiogenic pulmonary edema, refractory shock, and acute renal failure, and its management can be challenging. The outcome can be improved by early and aggressive intensive care, inotropic support, calcium infusion, and other supportive measures. Patients with amlodipine overdose should receive aggressive decontamination therapy and may require extended clinical monitoring and supportive care if they are hemodynamically unstable. 

What to Do if you Forget a Dose?

As missed doses could be viewed within the framework of patient non-compliance; however, the issues which arise often result because patients lack enough information to use the medication safely. Knowing what to do if a dose is missed and strategies to minimize the number of missed doses is a sensible approach. Written information that includes what to do if a dose is missed enhances people’s self-administration of medicines, including the right action when a dose is missed.

For most patients, an occasional missed dose will have little impact on therapy outcomes. Most CMI sheets include statements like

  • In case you need to remember to take one or more than one dose: take your next dose at the expected time and in the average amount. Never take any more than your doctor recommend.
  • When you miss one dose, skip it and continue with your regular schedule.

What are the Main Side Effects of Amlodipine?

Amlodipine can cause side effects like all medicines, though not everyone gets them.

Side effects may improve as your body gets used to the treatment.

Common side effects

The following common side effects of amlodipine are in more than 1 in 100 people. They are mild and only last for a short time.

  • Headaches
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Flushing
  • A pounding heartbeat
  • Swollen ankles

Serious side effects

These are rare and occur in less than 1 in 10,000 people.

  • Stomach problems: Severe pain in the stomach, with or without diarrhea (whether it contains blood or not)
  • Feeling sick and being sick (vomiting and nausea)
  • Signs of pancreatitis
  • The skin turns yellow, although this may be less obvious on brown or black skin.
  • The whites of your eyes turn yellow 
  • Signs of liver problems
  • Chest pain that does not halt after a few minutes or is new or bad if someone is already suffering from angina. It is a possible sign of a heart attack and must be checked out immediately.
  • Serious allergic reaction. In rare cases, it is possible to have a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to amlodipine. You could have a severe allergic reaction and need immediate treatment in the hospital.
  • Skin rash that may include red, itchy, swollen, blistered or peeling skin
  • Gasping
  • Tightness in the chest or throat
  • Trouble breathing or talking
  • Face, mouth, lips, tongue or throat start swelling
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What Should You Avoid when Taking Amlodipine?

Drinking Alcohol

You can drink alcohol with amlodipine. But keep in your mind that drinking alcohol can make amlodipine lessen your blood pressure more than you need, which can make you sleepy or dizzy or bring you a headache. If this happens to you, it is the best time to stop drinking alcohol while taking amlodipine.

Food or drink to avoid

Having large amounts of grapefruit or juice can suge the concentration of amlodipine in your body and intensify side effects. In case you are affected, you may have to keep yourself away from eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice while taking a dose of amlodipine.

Otherwise, you can eat and normally drink while taking amlodipine.

What may Interact with Amlodipine

Amlodipine can interact with several medications. Some amlodipine interactions can increase the risk of side effects. Others can prevent certain drugs from working as well. In most cases, these interactions can be managed with safer alternatives, dosage changes, or monitoring. Some medicines can affect the process of amlodipine. These are as

  • Antibiotics such as:
    • Clarithromycin
    • erythromycin or rifampicin
  • Calcium channel blockers like 
    • Diltiazem
    • verapamil
  • Antifungal medicines like
    • Itraconazole
    • ketoconazole
  • Medicines to treat HIV or HCV
  • Anti-epilepsy medicines such as 
    • Carbamazepine
    • Phenytoin
    • Phenobarbital (phenobarbitone)
    • Primidone
  • Medicines to suppress your immune system, such as
    • Ciclosporin
    • Tacrolimus
  • More than 20mg a day of the cholesterol-lowering medicine simvastatin

Factors that Increase the Risk of a Reaction

  • Heart medication. Taking diltiazem with amlodipine can increase the level of amlodipine in your body.
  • Antifungal medications
  • Antibiotics
  • Medications for erection problems
  • Cholesterol medication
  • Drugs that control your immune system
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How Long do Side Effects Last?

Amlodipine has an elimination half-life of 30-50 hours. This is the time it takes for your body to reduce the plasma levels by half.

It takes about 5.5 elimination half-lives for a drug to be out of your body. Therefore it will take about 11.5 days (5.5 x 50 hours = 275 hours) to be out of your body.

Other factors:

  • How much and how often you have used this medicine.
  • Metabolic rate. A slower metabolism will enhance the time a drug remains in your body.
  • Age and health. Older and poor health will generally improve the time the pill stays in your body.
  • Body mass. The bigger you are, the longer time a drug will stay in your body.
  • Headaches. Usually, go away after the first week.

FAQs about Amlodipine Answered by Your Doctors Online Team

What are the long-term side effects of Amlodipine?

Amlodipine rarely has side effects associated with long-term treatment. Patients take it for months or years. Side effects do not persist for months or weeks after stopping the drug. The most significant risks involve the cardiovascular system: heart problems caused or worsened by amlodipine, including heart attack, may have lifelong consequences. 

Why should Amlodipine be taken at night?

Take Amlodipine at any time of day (morning or evening). But it is advised to take it at the same time daily when it is easy for you to remember, for more even blood levels and, therefore, effectiveness.

Can Amlodipine Be Taken With Other Antihypertensive Drugs?

Taking other anti-hypertensives along with Amlodipine can have an additive effect and may further lower your blood pressure than normal levels leading to side effects like fainting and dizziness.

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