Are Norvasc and Amlodipine the same thing?

Amlodipine

This is how amlodipine works

Amlodipine is a calcium channel blocker (calcium antagonist): It inhibits certain calcium channels and thereby prevents the influx of calcium into heart muscle cells and vascular smooth muscle cells. On the one hand, this reduces the heart's need for oxygen. On the other hand, the vessel walls relax: the arteries and arterioles (smallest arteries) widen, which causes the blood pressure to drop.

The antihypertensive effect of amlodipine starts 30 to 50 minutes after ingestion and lasts for about 24 hours. The liver takes care of the breakdown of the active ingredient, the kidneys take over the excretion. This metabolism takes a very long time: it takes 35 to 50 hours for half of the absorbed active substance to be excreted (elimination half-life).

When is amlodipine used?

The areas of application (indications) of amlodipine are:

  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • vasospastic angina pectoris, also called Prinzmetal's angina (special form of the heart constriction, in which the temporary contraction of the coronary arteries leads to a reduced blood flow to the heart muscles)

This is how amlodipine is used

The antihypertensive drug is taken orally, mainly as a tablet. The amlodipine active ingredient is contained there as a salt, for example as amlodipine besylate or amlodipine mesilate. Because the active ingredient's breakdown and excretion take so long, it is usually enough to take it once a day.

What are the side effects of amlodipine?

Possible side effects of amlodipine include drowsiness, tiredness, dizziness and headache (especially at the start of treatment).

The widening of the blood vessels can lead to an increased transfer of fluid into the tissue. Possible consequences are water retention (edema) in the arms and legs.

Other amlodipine side effects that can occur are, for example, a racing heart (tachycardia), palpitations and an aggravation of existing angina pectoris symptoms. Abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea can also be adverse effects of the treatment. In the skin area, the antihypertensive agent can cause redness, rashes, discoloration, itching and hair loss, among other things. Some patients develop joint and muscle pain, cramps, urination problems, increased sweating, and difficulty breathing (dyspnoea) during treatment. Sleep disorders, mood swings, taste and visual disorders, weight changes, tremors and abnormal sensations (paresthesia) are also possible.

What should be considered when taking amlodipine?

In the case of hypersensitivity to the group of substances called dihydropyridines, to which amlodipine also belongs, the antihypertensive drug must not be taken. Further contraindications for taking the antihypertensive drug are cardiovascular shock, severe constriction of the aorta (aortic stenosis), unstable angina pectoris, acute myocardial infarction and severe liver dysfunction.

In the case of acute heart failure (heart failure), the use is not recommended.

Amlodipine should be used with caution in patients with kidney disease who are dependent on dialysis.

Use during pregnancy and breastfeeding has not been adequately studied and should therefore be used with caution. If possible, better tried-and-tested alternatives should be used.

Since amlodipine is mainly broken down by a specific enzyme system in the liver, there may be interactions with other drugs that inhibit or activate this enzyme system over the long term. These include, for example, phenytoin and carbamazepine (anti-epilepsy agents), rifampicin (anti-tuberculosis antibiotics), St. John's wort extracts (anti-depressant), ritonavir (anti-HIV infection), voriconazole (anti-fungal anti-fungal) and clarithromycin (anti-bacterial).

With the simultaneous use of certain agents for depression (tricyclic antidepressants), the antihypertensive effect is increased. The same goes for nitrates (agents used to treat angina pectoris).

The combination with cardiovascular agents from the group of beta blockers increases the symptoms of the disease in patients with cardiac insufficiency.

In general, the following applies: To be on the safe side, patients should inform their doctor or pharmacist if they would like to take other drugs (including non-prescription drugs) in addition to amlodipine.

This is how you get drugs with the active ingredient amlodipine

Amlodipine is a prescription drug and is only available from pharmacies.

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