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Amlodipine

Generic name: amlodipine [ am-LOE-di-peen ]
Brand names: Katerzia, Norvasc
Drug class: Calcium channel blocking agents

Medically reviewed by Melisa Puckey, BPharm. Last updated on May 23, 2022.

What is amlodipine?

Amlodipine is used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension), some types of angina and other conditions caused by coronary artery disease. Amlodipine is a calcium channel blocker that works by changing the movement of calcium in the heart and blood vessel cells. This widens the blood vessels which increases the blood and oxygen supply to the heart and also lowers blood pressure.

Warnings

Before taking amlodipine, tell your doctor if you have congestive heart failure or liver disease.

Drinking alcohol can further lower your blood pressure and may increase certain side effects of amlodipine.

If you are being treated for high blood pressure, keep using amlodipine even if you feel well. High blood pressure often has no symptoms. You may need to use blood pressure medication for the rest of your life.

Amlodipine is only part of a complete program of treatment that may also include diet, exercise, weight control, and other medications. Follow your diet, medication, and exercise routines very closely.

Tell your doctor about all other heart or blood pressure medications you are taking.

Your chest pain may become worse when you first start taking amlodipine or when your dose is increased. Call your doctor if your chest pain is severe or ongoing.

Before taking this medicine

You should not take amlodipine if you are allergic to it.

To make sure amlodipine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • liver disease; or

  • a heart valve problem called aortic stenosis.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known whether amlodipine will harm an unborn baby. However, having high blood pressure during pregnancy may cause complications such as diabetes or eclampsia (dangerously high blood pressure that can lead to medical problems in both mother and baby). The benefit of treating hypertension may outweigh any risks to the baby.

Amlodipine can pass into breast milk, but effects on the nursing baby are not known. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding.

Amlodipine is not approved for use by anyone younger than 6 years old.

How should I take amlodipine?

Take amlodipine exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results. Do not use this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

You may take amlodipine with or without food. Take the medicine at the same time each day.

Shake the Katerzia oral suspension (liquid) before you measure a dose. Use the dosing syringe provided, or use a medicine dose-measuring device (not a kitchen spoon).

Your blood pressure will need to be checked often.

Your chest pain may become worse when you first start taking amlodipine or when your dose is increased. Call your doctor if your chest pain is severe or ongoing.

If you are being treated for high blood pressure, keep using amlodipine even if you feel well. High blood pressure often has no symptoms. You may need to use blood pressure medicine for the rest of your life.

Your hypertension or heart condition may be treated with a combination of drugs. Use all medications as directed by your doctor. Read the medication guide or patient instructions provided with each medication. Do not change your doses or stop taking any of your medications without your doctor's advice. This is especially important if you also take nitroglycerin.

Amlodipine is only part of a complete program of treatment that may also include diet, exercise, weight control, and other medications. Follow your diet, medication, and exercise routines very closely.

Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If you are more than 12 hours late, skip the missed dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

Overdose symptoms may include rapid heartbeats, redness or warmth in your arms or legs, or fainting.

What to avoid

Avoid getting up too fast from a sitting or lying position, or you may feel dizzy. Get up slowly and steady yourself to prevent a fall.

Amlodipine side effects

Common side effects of amlodipine may include:

  • dizziness;
  • drowsiness;
  • feeling tired;
  • stomach pain;
  • nausea;
  • flushing (warmth, redness, or tingly feeling).

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to amlodipine: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

In rare cases, when you first start taking amlodipine, your angina may get worse or you could have a heart attack. Seek emergency medical attention or call your doctor right away if you have symptoms such as: chest pain or pressure, pain spreading to your jaw or shoulder, nausea, sweating.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • pounding heartbeats or fluttering in your chest;
  • worsening chest pain;
  • swelling in your feet or ankles;
  • severe drowsiness; or
  • a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect amlodipine?

Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using, especially:

  • nitroglycerin;

  • simvastatin (Zocor, Simcor, Vytorin); or

  • any other heart or blood pressure medications.

This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with amlodipine, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.

Popular FAQ

Weight gain has been reported by some people taking amlodipine but this is not a common side effect and some people have also reported weight loss. Weight gain with amlodipine may also be a symptom of edema, which is when you retain fluid, which may be particularly noticeable around your ankles or lower legs. The risk of edema is greater in women compared with men and in those people taking a higher dosage of amlodipine, and edema is usually noticed as weight gain. Continue reading

Swelling from amlodipine is a common, but often troublesome side effect of amlodipine with 5% to 9% of people stopping amlodipine because of it. If you develop swelling with amlodipine, tell your doctor right away because they may be able to change your blood pressure medications slightly to help reduce the swelling. Swelling caused by amlodipine does not usually respond to treatment with diuretics (such as furosemide) because it is caused by changes in capillary pressure that result in leakage into the spaces between capillaries (called the interstitial area) rather than water retention. Continue reading

Amlodipine can take more than 8 hours to start working, because it takes a long time to be absorbed. This means it is not a good choice for lowering blood pressure quickly, and other agents, such as hydralazine, clonidine, and nifedipine XL (which work within 1 to 2 hours) are preferred. Continue reading

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Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use amlodipine only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.