How does this medication work? What will it do for me?
Amlodipine belongs to the family of medications known as calcium channel blockers. Amlodipine is used to treat high blood pressure and angina (chest pain). It works to control blood pressure and reduces the number of angina attacks by widening and relaxing blood vessels.
This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.
Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.
What form(s) does this medication come in?
Each white, octagonal tablet, with two "N"s and a vertical scoreline on one side and "5" on the other side, contains amlodipine besylate equivalent to 5 mg of amlodipine. Nonmedicinal ingredients: microcrystalline cellulose, calcium phosphate (dibasic) anhydrous, sodium starch glycolate, and magnesium stearate.
Each white, octagonal tablet, with "N" on one side and "10" on the other side, contains amlodipine besylate equivalent to 10 mg of amlodipine. Nonmedicinal ingredients: microcrystalline cellulose, calcium phosphate (dibasic) anhydrous, sodium starch glycolate, and magnesium stearate.
How should I use this medication?
The recommended adult starting dose of amlodipine is 5 mg taken once daily. Depending on the effectiveness of this medication for your condition, and how well the medication is tolerated, your doctor may suggest a dose between 2.5 mg and 10 mg taken once daily.
For children ages 6 to 17 years, the recommended dose is 2.5 mg to 5 mg once daily.
Amlodipine can be taken with or without food.
Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones above, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.
It is important that this medication be taken exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from light, and keep it out of the reach of children.
Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.
Who should NOT take this medication?
Do not take amlodipine if you:
- are allergic to amlodipine or any ingredients of the medication
- are allergic to other medications of the same class (e.g., felodipine, nifedipine)
- have very low blood pressure
What side effects are possible with this medication?
Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.
The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.
The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.
Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.
- sleepiness or unusual drowsiness
- unusual tiredness or weakness
Although most of the side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not check with your doctor or seek medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
- abnormal heartbeat (e.g., pounding heartbeat, slow heartbeat, fast heartbeat)
- dizziness or fainting when rising from a lying or sitting position
- increased angina symptoms (e.g., more frequent or intense chest pain)
- signs of liver problems (e.g., nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss, yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes, dark urine, pale stools)
- swelling of ankles or feet
Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:
- symptoms of a severe allergic reaction (e.g., hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of the mouth, tongue, face, or throat)
- symptoms of a heart attack (e.g., chest pain, pressure or heaviness; nausea; shortness of breath; cool, clammy skin; anxiety)
Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.
Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?
Before you begin taking a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should take this medication.
Chest pain/heart attack: Rarely, this medication may worsen angina (chest pain) or precipitate a heart attack when it is first started or when the dose is increased. People with severe heart disease seem to be more at risk. If you experience worsening chest pain or symptoms of a heart attack (e.g., chest pain, pressure, or heaviness; nausea; shortness of breath; cool, clammy skin; anxiety) while taking this medication, get immediate medical attention.
Grapefruit juice: Grapefruit juice may increase the effects of amlodipine. Avoid grapefruit juice while taking this medication.
Liver function: Liver disease or reduced liver function may cause this medication to build up in the body, causing side effects. If you have liver disease or decreased liver function, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed. Your doctor may recommend a lower dose.
Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: It is not known if amlodipine passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking this medication, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.
Children: The safety and effectiveness of amlodipine have not been established for children under 6 years of age.Seniors: Seniors may be more sensitive to the side effects of amlodipine. Your doctor may suggest a lower dose.
What other drugs could interact with this medication?
There may be an interaction between amlodipine and any of the following:
If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:
- stop taking one of the medications,
- change one of the medications to another,
- change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
- leave everything as is.
An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.
Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.