Amlodipine is commonly prescribed to treat individuals suffering from a high blood pressure. Amlodipine works by relaxing the blood vessels allowing blood to pass through the body more freely.
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What is Amlodipine?
Amlodipine is prescribed to treat high blood pressure and angina. By reducing our blood pressure level, we can prevent the chances of suffering from more serious complications such as strokes, heart attacks or heart disease. It lowers your blood pressure by widening your blood vessels, which allows blood to be pumped around your body much easier. You may also recognise Amlodipine by its brand names of Istin and Amlostin.
Amlodipine Dose and Strengths
Amlodipine is sold in 2.5mg, 5mg and 10mg strengths. Here at Medicine Direct, we sell the two most commonly prescribed strengths of 5mg and 10mg.
5mg of this drug is frequently used as the initial dose by patients. The dose will be adjusted after the doctor reviews your symptoms and whether you have made an improvement by using this dose or not.
10mg is required by most patients with angina. Your dosage may be increase to this strength if the lower dose was not effective in treating your symptoms.
How should Amlodipine be taken?
Usually this medicine is taken once a day orally with a glass of water. Although you can take it at any time during the day, it helps to take it at the same time every day. Please follow the directions your doctor has given you. You can take the tablet before or after eating. Make sure to swallow the medicine whole.
Who can take Amlodipine?
It can be prescribed to adults and children who are aged over 6 years old. Amlodipine is not suitable for people who are breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant or already pregnant. If you suffer from kidney or liver problems you should talk to your doctor before being prescribed the medication.
You should avoid eating grapefruit products whilst taking your course of amlodipine as it can increase the concentration of the medicine in your blood and so increase the risk of you suffering worse side effects.
What if I forgot to take it?
Do not double dose Amlodipine to make up for forgotten doses. If you have forgotten try and take it as soon as you remember. However, if you do not remember until you are close to taking your next scheduled pill, then skip the dose and continue your course as normal.
What is Amlodipine used for?
Amlodipine is prescribed by doctors to treat high blood pressure. It can also tackle the chest pain associated with Angina, allowing patients to be able to exercise more with less chance of suffering painful chest attacks.
Below are the guidelines for taking Amlodipine in accordance to different conditions. Please note that these are just the general guidelines to taking the medicine, you should follow your doctors’ instruction as this may be personalised to your needs:
You will initially be prescribed 5mg to take once a day. You will usually then be given a maintenance dose of 5-10mg to continue keeping your blood pressure down. For smaller patients or those who are more fragile you may be started on the lowest dose of 2.5mg.
Doctors will usually prescribe those suffering with angina either 5mg or 10mg doses to taken of amlodipine once a day. 10mg will be the maximum dose given.
Amlodipine Side Effects
All medicines come with the danger of side effects. It is rare to experience any side effects whilst taking a medicine, but you should be aware of any possible signs that you may be reacting to the medicine. If you are worried about symptoms you have begun to exhibit you must contact your doctor for advice. If your symptoms are more severe, seek immediate medical help.
Common Side Effects
- Feeling dizzy
- Increase in temperature or flushing of face
- Heartbeat feeling more noticeable or pounding
- Ankles swelling
Uncommon Side Effects
- Severe stomach pain
- Bloody diarrhoea
- Vomiting (this and the above can be a sign of pancreatitis)
- Yellowing of your skin or eyes
- Increase or new chest pain (have this looked at as soon as possible as this may be a sign of a heart attack)
Please note that this list is not exhaustive. For a more extensive list please see the leaflet inside the medication box.
In rare cases patients taking Amlodipine can suffer from a severe allergic reaction to the medicine. If you experience any of the warning symptoms you MUST contact an emergency service such as 111 or 999 immediately. The signs of a severe allergic reaction are:
- Developing a skin rash which is itchy, red, swollen, blistered or peeling
- Your chest or throat feeling tight. This can also be displayed through wheezing.
- Experiencing difficulty in breathing or talking
- Your facial extremities become swollen i.e. you mouth, face, lips, tongue or throat.
You must tell your doctor of all other medicines you are currently taking before being prescribed Amlodipine, as it some medicine can interact negatively with it. Below are some of the medicines which are known to negatively affect your body:
- Some Antibiotics
- Other medicines used to treat high blood pressure
- Antifungal treatments
- Medication used to treat HIV or HCV
- Anti-epilepsy medicine
- Medicine which suppresses your immune system
- Some cholesterol-lowering medicine such as simvastatin if you take more than 20mg a day.
Amlodipine during Pregnancy
Amlodipine is not recommended during pregnancy; however it can be prescribed during pregnancy if the benefits far outweigh the risks. There may be other medications that are better suited to treat high blood pressure during pregnancy, we recommend speaking to your doctor about alternatives that may be safer.
Amlodipine and Breastfeeding
Amlodipine is not usually harmful whilst breastfeeding. Although small amounts of the medication will get into the breastmilk, the amount is too small to cause any harm to your baby. If your baby was born premature or with any difficulties, please speak to your doctor about what other options you have before taking any high blood pressure medication.
Can you drink alcohol whilst taking Amlodipine?
It is possible to drink alcohol whilst taking Amlodipine. However, it may be counterproductive or cause negative effects to drink whilst taking the medicine. This is because alcohol can increase blood pressure which will lower the benefits and effect of the drug. By lowering the blood pressure, this can in turn cause you to have a headache, feel dizzy or tired. You should stop drinking alcohol whilst taking your course of Amlodipine if this happens to you.
What benefits are there to taking Amlodipine?
Although high blood pressure in itself isn’t directly dangerous, it can cause serious conditions to develop. Therefore, by taking Amlodipine to reduce the blood pressure or cholesterol we can lower the chances of suffering strokes, heart attacks and liver or kidney problems.
How long does Amlodipine take to start working?
Although you may not feel any different, Amlodipine begins to work to lower your blood pressure from the first day of consuming it. For other conditions such as angina it will take around 2 weeks for you to feel the benefit. This means that you will continue to have pain in your chest for a few weeks until the amlodipine begins to make you feel better. Please be aware that this medication is not used to treat chest attacks when they happen, it is a slow building relief. If you experience a chest attack use your spray or other medication to treat the attack.
Amlodipine Drug Interactions and Warnings
If you are taking any other medications, it is possible that these may affect the way Amlodipine works.
Please inform your doctor if you are taking any other medications. The most common medications that can interact with the effectiveness of Amlodipine are:
Taking other high blood pressure medication at the same time as Amlodipine could cause your blood pressure to lower too much and cause you to suffer from a low blood pressure. In addition to this, other medications unrelated to high blood pressure that may cause a low blood pressure as a side effect should not be taken.
- Medications to treat HIV
- Antibiotics such as rifampicin, erythromycin, clarithromycin
- ST John’s wort
You are advised not to consume grapefruit while taking this medication
Do not take this medication is you have hypotension (severe low blood pressure)
Do not take this medication if you suffer from aortic stenosis or cardiogenic shock
Do not take this medication if you suffer from heart failure after a heart attack
- Recent heart attack
- Heart failure
- Liver disease
- You are elderly
- Severe increase in blood pressure
Non-prescription alternatives for High Blood Pressure– Lifestyle Changes
- Get plenty of rest and sleep
- Cut down on alcohol consumption
- Do regularly exercise
- Stop smoking
- Cat down on caffeinated drinks
- Cut down salt intake
- Eat plenty fruit and vegetables
- Heart failure
- Heart attacks
- Peripheral arterial disease
- Aortic aneurysms
- Kidney disease
- Vascular dementia
Active ingredient: Amlodipine (as amlodipine besilate)
Cellulose microcrystalline, Sodium starch glycolate (Type A), Silica colloidal anhydrous, Magnesium stearate.
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