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Amlodipine Side Effects, Uses, and Frequently Asked Questions

Written by Dr. Diana Rangaves, PharmD, RPh

NowRx Contributor 

What is Amlodipine?

Amlodipine is a prescription drug used solely or in combination with other medications to treat high blood pressure. Generally, it is used by adults but it can also work for children aged 6 and older.

Amlodipine is a prescription medication which means you must have a valid prescription from a doctor in order to have it filled at the pharmacy.

Amlodipine falls into a class of medications called calcium antagonists or calcium chain blockers. These are medications that lower blood pressure by blocking calcium from entering heart cells or cells of arteries.

In turn, this causes the blood vessels to dilate and widen which helps lower blood pressure.

Amlodipine Uses

The most common use of amlodipine is lowering high blood pressure.

However, there are other known uses of the drug which include:

  • Prevention and, or treatment of Angina – A certain type of chest pain associated with the decrease in the amount of blood flowing to the heart muscles.
  • Treatment of Coronary heart disease
  • Prevent heart attacks and strokes

The uses of Amlodipine are purely based on a prescription basis depending on the type of illness and management required.

Amlodipine Side Effects

Like any medication, amlodipine has various known side effects depending on usage, although not everyone will experience them. Most side effects, however, are mild and wear off quickly.

Here are some of the common side effects of Amlodipine.

  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Flushing
  • Palpitation
  • Swollen ankles
  • Fatigue
  • Rash

However, some patients may develop serious side effects although such cases are infrequent.

  • Severe stomach pain
  • Yellowing of skin and eyes
  • New or worsening chest pain
  • Anaphylaxis to amlodipine though very rare

If you believe you are experiencing serious side effects you should call or visit a doctor immediately.

Does Amlodipine Cause Hair Loss?

Blood pressure medications such as beta-blockers and ACE inhibitors are known to cause hair loss.

Blood pressure medications promote hair loss in two main ways:

  • By causing hair follicles to enter the resting phase and fall out before time.
  • By inhibiting the normal activity of matrix cells.

However, amlodipine has no known effect on hair growth or cause of hair loss.

Amlodipine Dosage

Amlodipine comes either as a 2.5mg, a 5 mg tablet, or a 10 mg tablet. The usual dosage for amlodipine is 5mg a day. However, depending on the severity of your illness, 5 mg may or may not be enough to treat you. In such an event, you should consult your doctor for an increase in dosage, drug combination, or medication change.

For children, the dosage is lower but may vary as well depending on the severity of illness and drug effectiveness. The usual dosage for children is either the 2.5mg tablet once a day or the 5 mg tablet a day depending on age.

The dosage for geriatric patients is also similar to that of children. However, in this case, amlodipine prescription is dependent more on age and strength of heart muscles.

Is Amlodipine a Beta blocker?

Amlodipine is not a beta blocker.

Amlodipine falls into a class of medications called calcium antagonists or calcium chain blockers. The name is derived from their mode of action in the body which is simply by blocking off calcium.

Contrastly, beta-blockers are a different type of blood pressure medication that works by blocking or countering the action of certain hormones. Hormones such as adrenaline are blocked from entering the heart muscles thus lowering stress to the heart.

Amlodipine and Alcohol

It is recommended that you do not mix amlodipine and alcohol.

Alcohol raises blood pressure temporarily and these frequent rises can develop into a chronic case. Amlodipine is an antihypertensive drug, which means, its combination with alcohol negates the effect of amlodipine.

Doctors and pharmacists strongly advise against the consumption of alcohol before, during, and after taking amlodipine.

How Long Does It Take for Amlodipine to Work?

Calcium chain blockers like Amlodipine begin working 2 to 4 hours after intake of the first dose.

This means, after taking amlodipine you should expect to experience the effect at least within 2 hours.

However, different foods and beverages however affect how amlodipine works. For this reason, it’s advisable to seek guidance from your doctor on the best diet while taking amlodipine.

Taking amlodipine at night greatly reduces blood pressure compared to taking it in the morning.

Amlodipine vs. Lisinopril

Although both Amlodipine and Lisinopril are used to treat high blood pressure, they differ in their mode of action.

While both medications aim to dilate blood vessels in the heart and stabilize blood flow and pressure, Amlodipine is a calcium chain blocker and lisinopril is an ACE inhibitor.

In other words, Lisinopril works by inhibiting the action of the enzyme ACE (Angiotensin Converting Enzyme) in the kidneys, which slows the production of ACE II. Due to this, the blood vessels dilate and open thus lowering blood pressure.

Amlodipine, on the other hand, inhibits the entry of calcium into heart muscle cells and arteries. I’m The side effective s for these medications generally differ, however they do share some similarities.

Questions About Amlodipine

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