Amlodipine

Sounds like 'am-LOE-di-peen'

Easy-to-read medicine information about amlodipine – what is it, how to take amlodipine safely and possible side effects

Type of medicine Also called
  • Antihypertensive (to lower blood pressure)
  • Used to prevent chest pain (angina)
  • Belongs to a group of medicines called calcium channel blockers
  • Apo-Amlodipine®
  • Auro-Amlodipine®
  • Norvasc®

What is amlodipine?

Amlodipine is used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) and to prevent angina (chest pain).  It may help to increase your ability to exercise and decrease how often you get chest pain. It works by relaxing your blood vessels so blood can flow more easily, and in this way lowers your blood pressure. Amlodipine belongs to a group of medicines called calcium channel blockers. In New Zealand amlodipine is available in different strengths of tablets (2.5 mg, 5 mg and 10 mg). 

Dose

  • The usual dose of amlodipine is 5 milligrams once daily. Some people may need a higher dose of 10 milligrams once daily. 
  • Always take your amlodipine exactly as your doctor has told you. The pharmacy label on your medicine will tell you how much amlodipine to take, how often to take it, and any special instructions.

How to take amlodipine

  • Take amlodipine once a day. Try to take your doses at the same time each day.
  • Swallow your tablet with a glass of water.
  • You can take amlodipine with or without food.
  • Limit or avoid drinking alcohol while you are taking amlodipine. It may increase your chance of side effects such as feeling dizzy.
  • If you forget your dose, take it as soon as you remember that day. But, if it is nearly time for your next dose, just take the next dose at the right time. Do not take double the dose.
  • Do not stop taking amlodipine suddenly; speak to your doctor or nurse before stopping.
  • Amlodipine tablets are available in different strengths. If your tablets look different to your last supply speak with your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Precautions – before taking amlodipine

  • Do you have problems with your liver?
  • Are you pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding?
  • Are you taking any other medicines? This includes any medicines you buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.

If so, it’s important that you tell your doctor or pharmacist before you start amlodipine. Sometimes a medicine isn’t suitable for a person with certain conditions, or it can only be used with extra care.

Possible side effects

Like all medicines, amlodipine can cause side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often side effects improve as your body gets used to the new medicine.

Side effects What should I do?
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Feeling flushed (red in the face) 
  • Nausea (feeling sick)
  • These are quite common when you first start taking amlodipine, and usually go away after the first few days
  • Tell your doctor if troublesome
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling lightheaded
  • Feeling faint when you stand up
  • Be careful when getting up from either lying down or sitting to avoid falls. These effects put you at risk of falls and injuries, especially if you are elderly
  • Be careful when driving or using tools until you know how this medicine affects you
  • Avoid drinking alcohol
  • Tell your doctor if troublesome
  • Swollen ankles or feet
  • Tell your doctor
  • Changes in your heartbeat (either too fast or irregular)
  • Tell your doctor
  • Worsening chest pain, shortness of breath, pain in the chest 
  • Tell your doctor immediately or ring HealthLine 0800 611 116 

Interactions

Amlodipine may interact with a few medications and herbal supplements, so check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting amlodipine or before starting any new medicines, including those you may buy over the counter.

Learn more

The following links have more information on amlodipine.

Amlodipine (Māori) New Zealand Formulary Patient Information
Norvasc Medsafe Consumer Information Sheet

References

  1. Amlodipine New Zealand Formulary
  2. Medical management of stable angina pectoris BPAC, 2011
  3. An update on managing patients with atrial fibrillation BPAC, 2017
Credits: Sandra Ponen, pharmacist. Reviewed By: Angela Lambie, Pharmacist, Auckland Last reviewed: 15 Nov 2018