How quickly does amlodipine lower blood pressure

What is amlodipine and how does it work?

The most important thing about amlodipine - briefly explained

  • Amlodipine lowers blood pressure and dilates blood vessels. It reduces attacks of special forms of angina pectoris (chest tightness) - the stable and vasospastic angina pectoris (Prinzmetal angina). This can occur in the context of coronary heart disease (CHD).
  • Amlodipine is a long-term and uniformly effective calcium channel blocker (also called calcium antagonist)
  • Some side effects such as headache, tiredness and flushing often go away after a while. So don't stop your therapy too quickly, speak to your doctor about it.

What is amlodipine used for?

Amlodipine is used for high blood pressure, but also to prevent angina pectoris attacks, especially in stable (stress angina) and vasospastic angina pectoris, which is manifested by cramping of the vessels in the heart.

An exertional angina is a narrowing of the arteries in the heart. Tightness and pain in the chest, which can radiate into the shoulders, back or jaw, only occur under stress, for example when cycling or doing light physical activity.

The active ingredient can be administered individually or in combination with other antihypertensive agents.

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How does amlodipine work?

Amlodipine is a modern calcium channel blocker (calcium blocker, calcium antagonist). There are different types of calcium channel blockers, with amlodipine belonging to the dihydropyridines. It prevents calcium on smooth muscle cells (such as those in the arteries and the heart) from entering the cell. This causes the muscle cells to relax, the vessels to widen and the blood pressure to drop. This also relieves the load on the heart.

What should be considered when using it?

  • For adults, amlodipine is available in tablet form of 5 or 10 mg. Amlodipine is slowly absorbed into the bloodstream and reaches its maximum effect after six to twelve hours. It has a long duration of action, so it only needs to be taken once a day.
  • The usual dose of amlodipine is 5 mg per day, but your doctor may increase the dose to 10 mg per day.
  • Take your antihypertensive medicine regularly. While high blood pressure doesn't hurt, it is a major risk factor that can lead to cardiovascular diseases such as stroke and heart attack.
  • You can take your antihypertensive medicine with or without a meal.
  • Avoid grapefruit or foods containing grapefruit. This could change the breakdown of amlodipine in the liver and increase the blood pressure lowering effect.
  • Amlodipine may have minor influence on the ability to drive and use machines. If you suffer from dizziness, headache, tiredness or nausea, especially at the beginning of therapy, your ability to react may be impaired.

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What side effects can amlodipine cause?

Pharmaceutical manufacturers must list all known side effects on the package insert for a drug. This is why this section is often very long and unconfident.

For example, "very common" means that more than ten percent of users (or more than 1 in 10 people treated) may experience side effects. "Frequently" means: Up to ten percent of people (or up to 1 in 10) can experience side effects. "Occasionally" means: Up to one percent of users (or up to 1 in 100) can experience undesirable side effects.

This text mainly lists the "very frequent", "frequent" and "occasional" undesirable effects and indicates particularly dangerous ones. The text does not replace the instruction leaflet and does not reproduce it in full.

  • Very common side effects do not occur with amlodipine.
  • Commonly mentioned side effects include drowsiness, dizziness and headache, especially at the beginning of treatment. Furthermore, visual disturbances, palpitations or nausea can occur. Ankle edema is also common. This is the accumulation of water on the ankle that you would notice if the shoes suddenly no longer fit or the ankles look swollen. The therapy can also lead to a flush, which is a temporary reddening of the face with a simultaneous sensation of warmth.
  • Occasional side effects can include a drop in blood pressure, mood swings, or taste disturbances.
  • Calcium channel blockers do not lead to osteoporosis because they do not interfere with the calcium metabolism of the bones. You therefore do not have to fear an increased risk of breakage in connection with amlodipine.

Possible interactions of amlodipine

If you take other antihypertensive drugs such as ß-blockers or ACE inhibitors, the blood pressure - especially at the beginning - can drop sharply. Signs of this include dizziness and headache. In this case, please talk to your doctor and do not stop taking your medication on your own.

Certain drugs against fungal diseases (azole antimycotics) or macrolide antibiotics (e.g. erythromycin, clarithromycin), but also other antihypertensive drugs such as verapamil or diltiazem change the metabolism of amlodipine and increase its concentration in the blood. The result is an increased drop in blood pressure. In elderly patients, this risk may be so pronounced that the doctor may need to adjust the dose of amlodipine.

The consumption of grapefruit can also lead to an increased effect of amlodipine, because the breakdown of amlodipine in the liver is changed.

If you take St. John's wort (for mood swings) or rifampicin (for tuberculosis), the metabolism of amlodipine may change here as well. However, this reduces the effect.

Taking amlodipine and simvastatin (a cholesterol-lowering drug) at the same time can lead to an increased concentration of simvastatin.

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Who shouldn't use amlodipine?

  • If you are hypersensitive to the active substance, have very low blood pressure or have recently had a heart attack and your heart has not stabilized since then, you must not take amlodipine. Even if the doctor has found you have a narrowing of the valve to the main artery (high-grade aortic stenosis), you should not use amlodipine.
  • Caution is advised in patients with impaired liver function.
  • Anyone who suffers from a weak heart should also consult their doctor before use