Nifedipine

Sounds like 'nye-FED-i-peen'

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

Type of medicineAlso called
  • Belongs to a group of medicines called calcium channel blockers
  • Adalat®
  • Nyefax Retard®
  • Adefin XL®

What is nifedipine?

  • Nifedipine is used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension). 
  • It works by relaxing your blood vessels so blood can flow more easily, and in this way lowers your blood pressure.
  • Nifedipine is also used to treat Raynaud's syndrome
  • Nifedipine is available as a modified release tablet which releases nifedipine slowly and evenly throughout the course of the day.   

Dose

  • The dose of nifedipine will be different for different people, depending on the brand you are taking. 
  • Always take your nifedipine exactly as your doctor has told you. The pharmacy label on your medicine will tell you how much nifedipine to take, how often to take it, and any special instructions.

How to take nifedipine

  • Try taking your nifedipine dose at the same times each day.
  • Swallow your tablet whole with a glass of water. Do not break, crush or chew the tablets, as this releases all the medicine at once and increases your chance of side effects.
  • You can take nifedipine either with or without food.
  • Limit or avoid drinking alcohol while you are taking nifedipine. 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 nifedipine suddenly; speak to your doctor or nurse before stopping.

Possible side effects

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

Side effectsWhat should I do?
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Feeling flushed (red in the face)
  • These are quite common when you first start taking nifedipine, and usually go away after the first few days
  • Tell your doctor if troublesome
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling light headed
  • Feeling faint when you stand up
  • Be careful when getting up from either lying down or sitting to avoid falls. These effects puts you at risk of falls and injuries, especially if your are elderly
  • Be careful when driving or using tools until you know how this medicine affects you
  • Swollen ankles or feet
  • Tell your doctor
  • Changes in your heart beat (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

  • Check with a pharmacist before taking over the counter medicines such as:
    • Cold or flu tablets containing phenylephrine (e.g. Sudafed PE), or diphenhydramine (e.g. Benadryl Original).
    • Anti-inflammatories such as diclofenac (e.g. Voltaren Rapid), ibuprofen (e.g. Nurofen), mefenamic acid (e.g. Ponstan), naproxen (e.g. Naprogesic).
  • Nifedipine may interact with a few medications and herbal supplements, so check with your doctor or pharmacist.

Learn more

The following links provide further information on nifedipine:

Medsafe Consumer Information Sheet:
Adalat
Adefin XL
Nyefax Retard

 

Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist. Reviewed By: Dr J Bycroft. Health Navigator NZ Last reviewed: 19 Oct 2015