Amlodipine is a medication which is included in the calcium channel blocker group. Along with other calcium channel blockers such as azelnidipine, benidipine, and nisoldipine, amlodipine helps widening blood vessels and increasing blood flow. This is the reason why the medication is used for treating high blood pressure, angina, and other coronary artery disease symptoms where the blood vessels narrow down. Amlodipine is prescribed for treating adults and children above 6 years old.
The drug is commonly sold in the form of tablet. In the United States, China, Japan, Pakistan, and some European countries, amlodipine is marketed by Pfizer under the name of Norvasc. Meanwhile in other countries, the drug is marketed in different brand names.
As a medication, amlodipine may show side effects while taken. Most commonly, patients who are treated with the calcium channel blocker may experience fatigue, swelling in ankles or feet, dizziness, muscle ache, stomachache, indigestion, difficulty in breathing, nausea, flushing, or lightheadedness. In less common cases (around 1 in 1000 users), amlodipine can also cause depression, insomnia, blood disorders, impotence, development of breasts in men, increased heart rate, and gingival enlargement. One of 10,000 users of the medication may experience more serious side effects such as hepatitis, jaundice, and erratic behavior; while in one of 100,000 users amlodipine can cause tremor, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, or high levels of blood sugar.
Prior to taking amlodipine, you should make sure that you are not allergic to the medicine. As the drug may contain inactive ingredients which cause allergic reactions or other health problem, get more detailed information about the medication from your pharmacist. If you find several allergic reactions such as itching and swelling of the face, tongue, or throat, rash, trouble at breathing, and dizziness, contact your doctor immediately.
Amlodipine should also be used carefully if you have histories of liver disease, very low blood pressure, congestive heart failure, or aortic stenosis. People with these diseases should inform their physician to get their amlodipine dosage adjusted.
As amlodipine can cause dizziness, do not drive, operate machinery, or do other activities which require high concentration while taking the drug. You should also avoid drinking alcohol during the medication as alcohol is known to lower blood pressure and worsen the side effects of the drug.
Note that amlodipine is only a part of treatment for angina, high blood pressure, and other coronary artery diseases. For faster and better recovery results, you should undergo a complete program of treatments which also include consuming healthy diet, doing regular exercise, maintaining your normal weight, cutting off smoking and alcohol consumptions, and avoiding stress.