Prevalence of high blood pressure is relatively high in the US, with almost 108 million individuals reportedly having high blood pressure. The statistics are alarming at a different level, as only one out of every four individuals with the condition actually have it under control. The high prevalence and the serious nature of the condition makes it important to choose medications with care to prevent side effects. Calcium channel blockers are among the different prescription medications for blood pressure. Here is a detailed look at amlodipine besylate side effects and its mechanism of action.
Reasons for prescription of calcium channel blocker – amlodipine besylate
Before we look at amlodipine besylate side effects it is important to look at the medication, its mechanism of action and the reasons its prescription. The drug is typically used either in combination with other medications for treating high blood pressure, or is prescribed for consumption alone. It is generally prescribed for adults and children above the age of 7 years. In addition to treating blood pressure, it is also used for treating other conditions that include chest pain (commonly known as angina) and in patients who are experiencing a narrowing of the blood vessels (known as coronary artery disease).
Drug overview and amlodipine besylate side effects
Belonging to the class of class channel blockers amlodipine is known to lower blood pressure levels, thereby reducing the pressure on the heart. By virtue of the lowered blood pressure and by restoring the flow of blood, the medication helps to control pain in the chest. The medication can help to control chest pain as a preventive method, however it is not effective in reducing pain or managing the condition once chest pain occurs. It helps to reduce the possibility of chest pain when taken regularly.
While looking at amlodipine besylate side effects it is necessary to look at it in the context of the desired outcomes and the reason why it is prescribed. High blood pressure is a serious condition and is known to cause serious damage in the long term. Individuals with the condition need proper treatment which is in most cases a lifelong regimen. Known as the silent killer, high blood pressure can manifest as various other complications, especially serious damage to the organs. For instance, high blood pressure is known to result in damage to the heart, kidneys and the brain in addition to limb extremities. As a result of the damage to the blood vessels, the complications are manifold and impact other organs. Patients diagnosed with high blood pressure also require changes in lifestyle to cope with the problems associated with the condition. The essential changes in lifestyle that are required include – maintenance of the right weight, dietary modifications, including low salt and fat diet, adequate routine exercise, abstinence from smoking and reduction in alcohol consumption.
Mechanism of action and amlodipine besylate side effects
The drug has known antioxidant properties and increases the production of nitric oxide. As a result of the increased nitric oxide production in the body, vasodilation occurs and this reduces blood pressure. The highlight of the medication is the single daily dosage quality, wherein patients get to dispense with the need to take the medication multiple times daily. The mechanism of action of amlodipine is centered around the peripheral arterial vasodilation action that occurs on the vascular smooth muscles. This in turn reduces peripheral vascular resistance, which results in lowered blood pressure levels. The dihydropyridine calcium antagonist works by restricting the amount of calcium ions that enter the cardiac muscle and the vascular smooth muscle. The mechanism of action is attributed to the binding action with the dihydropyridine and nondihydropyridine on the cell membranes.
Actions in the cardiac muscle and the vascular smooth muscle depend on how the calcium ions move into the cells. By blocking the entry of calcium ions into the cells, by selectively targeting the ions, amlodipine has a strong impact on the muscle cells. As a result of this, amlodipine besylate side effects are relatively lesser when compared with other medications, in addition to exercising a stronger effect on blood pressure management. As mentioned above, amlodipine is also used for treating angina (chest pain). While there is relatively lesser evidence about the precise mechanism of action of amlodipine for treating angina, there is a strong body of evidence that suggests possible mechanisms. For instance, the drug is known to have a dilating property, and consequently, it possesses the ability to bring down the resistance that is associated with the cardiac muscle. While the drug is being administered, the heart rate is maintained at a stable rate, and the lessened resistance to cardiac muscle function helps in reducing the workload of the heart. Additionally, there is evidence to suggest that the dilation in the arteries and the arterioles help to reduce the blood pressure. This is mainly evidenced in patients suffering from coronary artery spasms, and helps to bring about a reduction in vasoconstriction that is attributed to smoking in patients.
General action of amlodipine
The calcium channel blocker is known to bring about vasodilation that results in a reduction in blood pressure. The highlight of amlodipine besylate side effects is the fact that the reduction in blood pressure does not result in any corresponding changes in rate of heart beat of the plasma levels. The oral administration of amlodipine is therefore considered as an effective method to manage the condition without side effects, unlike other treatment options. For instance, intravenous administration of amlodipine is known to bring about a reduction in blood pressure, with an increase in heart rate. The best part abut amlodipine is its ability to maintain or deliver antihypertensive effectiveness for one full day. As a result the medication is recommended to be used once a day.
Common amlodipine besylate side effects
The side effects of the medication can be broadly classified into two types – common side effects and serious side effects. The relatively common side effects are known to resolve naturally in a few days without the need for medical intervention. However, common side effects that do not resolve naturally and persist for a period beyond ten days require medical attention. Some of the common amlodipine besylate side effects include a drowsy feeling that could be severe in nature. Patients on the medication are known to experience swelling in the feet around the ankles, pain in the stomach, feelings of nausea, and change in heart beat rate. The heart rate could either turn irregular in nature or could increase to a faster pace. There is the possibility individuals experiencing unusual movements in the muscles and tremors, apart from a sudden hot feeling in the face that is known as flushing. As mentioned above, these effects are generally mild and resolve naturally.
Serious amlodipine besylate side effects include reduction in blood pressure at levels that are below the desired levels. Symptoms that are commonly associated with lowered blood pressure include dizziness, a faint feeling and a light feeling. Patients are also known to have chest pain or be exposed to the risk of a heart attack. The risk of increased pain or a heart attack increases among patients when the medication is taken for the first time. Symptoms commonly associated with this side effect includes pain in the chest or acute discomfort. There is a possibility of patients experiencing unusual discomfort in the upper torso, sudden shortness of beath, and feelings of nausea. It is also possible for patients to experience extreme tiredness in addition to profuse cold sweating.
The impact of amlodipine on existing conditions
It is important for patients to be aware of the impact of medication on existing conditions. For instance amlodipine besylate side effects include effects on existing conditions, such as complications in the liver and heart. Since the medication is processed in the liver, it is essential that the liver be in healthy condition. Liver that is not healthy will have the undesirable effect of retaining the active ingredients in the body for a longer period. As a result of the chemicals remaining in the body for a longer period, there is a stronger likelihood of the medication having increased side effects. I tis therefore necessary ton intimate the treating specialist about prevailing liver complications.
As the medication is primarily related to high blood pressure and angina, the mechanism of action has an effect on individuals with pre-existing heart conditions. For instance, patients with narrowing of arteries are likely to experience more health complications. Heart attack and chest pain are possibilities among patients with narrowed arteries. As highlighted earlier, this is especially true in the case of patients who take the medications for the first time.
The drug is also known to interact with other medications. For instance, amlodipine is known to have undesirable side effects when patients are on other medications including vitamins, or other herbal formulations. For instance, patients on diltiazem for heart complications are likely to experience an increase in the levels and effect of amlodipine. I tis therefore necessary to either stop or modify the dosage accordingly. Among other amlodipine besylate side effects related to drug interactions, antifungal medications are known to cause an increase in the levels of the drug. For instance, patients on ketaconazole, voriconazole and itraconazole may experience an increase in the levels of amlodipine and therefore experience stronger side effects. Similarly, patients on certain antibiotics such as clarithromycin are also likely to experience side effects.
Other drug interactions include medications for erectile dysfunction. For instance patients on medications such as sildenafil, tadalafil for treating erectile dysfunction are likely to experience a reduction in blood pressure. It is therefore necessary to either stop the medication for erection related problems or look at alternative methods for treating the problems. Other drugs that interact and cause amlodipine besylate side effects include medications for cholesterol. Drugs like simvastatin taken alongwith amlodipine can result in an increase in the levels of simvastatin and this could trigger undesirable side effects. Medications for treating the Immune system are also known to have an impact when taken during amlodipine is prescribed. Cyclosporine and tacrolimus are medications prescribed for controlling the immune system and these can end up with higher levels in the body when amlodipine is taken.
Warnings about amlodipine besylate side effects
The drugs come with clear warnings that need to be considered. For instance, amlodipine can result in serious allergic reactions, including difficulty in breathing, and swelling in the throat. Similarly, amlodipine besylate side effects that patients need to be cautious about includes the impact on pre-existing conditions mentioned earlier – heart and liver conditions. Women who are pregnant are advised to look at other medications are experimental studies on animals have revealed adverse side effects. Nursing mothers are also advised to look at alternative medication as the drug is likely to cause side effects to the child through breast milk.