Amlodipine is classified as an antihypertensive drug and more specifically a calcium channel blocker. It is used to treat hypertension and chest pain also known as angina. They are used to manage irregular heart beats or arrhythmias as well. Other medications in this class include the following:
How Amlodipine Works
Calcium is needed by the body for muscle contraction. The heart is a muscle that is constantly contracting to pump blood through out the body. Calcium channel blockers like amlodipine work by blocking the flow of calcium into the muscles of the heart and smooth muscles of blood vessels. The blood vessels relax and become wider plus the pumping action of the heart is reduced. The effect of this is an increase in blood supply to the heart, leading to reduced chest pain, a decrease in how fast the heart pumps and a decrease in blood pressure.
Side effects of Amlodipine
Besides the therapeutic effect of this medication, there are other side effects that may occur and they are:
- sleeping problems
- swelling of the hands and legs
- dry mouth
- nausea, vomiting, heartburn
- constipation, diarrhea
- stomach cramps
- gum enlargement
Serious side effects that need to be reported to a doctor immediately are adverse effects. These type of side effects for amlodipine are:
- chest pain that occurs more frequently
- irregular heart beats
- slow heart beats
- severe dizziness
Before Taking Amlodipine
It’s important to what medications to avoid when takin amlodipine and some are as follows:
- Be aware that it can lower blood pressure if taken with other antihypertensives, fentanyl, nitrates, quinidine or alcohol.
- Know that its antihypertensive effects may be reduced by medications like ibuprofen.
- Consider the fact that it reacts with lithium to cause toxicity in the nervous system.
Doing the following may increase the effectiveness of amlodipine and help prevent some side effects.
- Learn how to check pulses and blood pressure. Take blood pressure reading weekly and report any unusual values to a healthcare provider.
- Take the medication as prescribed even well feeling well.
- Get up from a sitting or standing position slowly to prevent falls due to dizziness.
- Do not drive or do anything that requires alertness until the drug effects are determined because the medication may cause drowsiness.
- Maintain good dental hygiene and keep all dental appointments to reduce the occurrence of gum enlargement.
- Consult a health care provider before using any over the counter medication like ibuprofen.
- Report severe headaches, bothersome side effects and adverse effects to a physician immediately.
Its important to take amlodipine as prescribed and to discuss all other medication being taken with a physician before starting on this medication.