Contraction of arteries can lead to a restricted flow of blood. As a result, you may witness chest pain, build-up of blood pressure, kidney problems and a few other heart conditions. Drugs administered for easing blood flow aim to expand your blood vessels. Once expanded, your system gets needful amount of blood and your pressure levels fare at a normal. Of the many types of drugs administered for treating hypertension, calcium channel blockers have a special place. A leading example of this genre is amlodipine. What are the dosage instructions, precautions and the likely drug interactions? You need to know more on these aspects before starting to take this med.
An increase in blood pressure level requires timely treatment. If left unattended, you are likely to witness heart attacks, strokes, impairment of optic nerves, etc. As part of treatment, you are advised to make changes to your dietary habits; for instance, keep away from salty, oily or greasy foods. It is a good practice to work out for at least 40 minutes every day. Your caregiving team may tell you to quit smoking as well as drinking.
What is amlodipine and what are its uses?
This is a calcium channel blocking drug. Its use is prescribed for reducing hypertension, prevention of angina (i.e., chest pain) and to avoid risks associated with renal failure, cardiac arrests or strokes. The active chemicals used in this drug aim to dilate your arteries; this action facilitates an easier flow of blood. With a normal blood flow, your pressure level tends to become normal. Risks of strokes, heart failure or renal dysfunction are unlikely to show up when your blood pressure level is under greater control.
Amlodipine is however never used when you are already having a pain in your chest region. This drug is only taken to prevent such spells and is not an emergency medication to treat angina. Amlodipine is available as a suspension (i.e., syrup) and also as a pill. The typical dosage is once within a 24-hour timeline. Care to take the drug at the same hour each day to maximize the results. Never alter the dosage level without telling your doctor. Always use the spoon offered along with the pack, and refrain from using a ladle from your kitchen.
Precautions associated with the intake of amlodipine
Those with prior allergies to key chemicals used in amlodipine must keep their caregiving team aware of such allergic reactions. Also, tell your treating doctor about other drugs you may be currently taking. Make a list of all such drugs – while making this list, ensure to include over the counter drugs, prescription meds, vitamins, proteins, herbal aids, dietary supplements, etc.
Those who are taking anti-seizure meds such as carbamazepine, phenytoin or phenobarbital must take a few added precautions. Use of a few types of antimicrobial meds such as clarithromycin, ketoconazole, etc. may not go well with this calcium channel blocker. Also, if you have had a recent episode of heart attack or cardiac failure, your doctor needs to know more details about such events. Women who are trying to become pregnant (while taking this med) may be asked to use birth control measures. Also, women who are nursing a newly born infant must keep away from using amlodipine as the active ingredients may get into mother’s milk.
Dosage of amlodipine
The pills are available in multiple strengths namely, 2.5 milligrams (mg), 5 mg and 10 mg. In case of children, dosages are never administered if your child is less than 7 years of age. For children aged above 7 years, a standard dose of 2.5 mg is offered within a 24-hour timeline. In case of adults living with high level of blood pressure, dosage is started at a bare minimal level of 2.5 mg. Your caregiver will keep a close watch for allergies or hypersensitivity soon after giving you 2.5 mg. If your system has not developed any major side effects or allergies, the dosage strength is increased to 5 mg as a single dose per day. In case of geriatric patients (i.e., those aged above 55 years), the standard dose is 2.5 mg to 5 mg. This is offered as an oral dose and is usually administered once per day.
Other precautions you need to be aware of
Amlodipine may cause a few undesired side effects. If you are developing discomforts such as erratic heartbeats, being dizzy, itchiness, weakness of muscles as well as cramping, talk to your doctor about such side effects. Most of these discomforts may cease to show up as your body gets used to the active chemicals used in amlodipine. However, if these side effects persist for long, seek clinical help from a healthcare unit as quickly as possible. Owing to such risks, elderly patients are never administered with a larger dose of amlodipine. The maintenance dose is never made to exceed 5 mg among elders.
In a few one-off instances, amlodipine is used as an off-label drug for treating nephropathic conditions among diabetic people. Such a use requires guidance and supervision of a qualified medical specialist. No two people living with high blood pressure are prescribed with the same strength; dosage strength depends on your body weight, age, prior medical conditions, if any as well as existing treatment / medication plans. Those living with pain in joints or cardiac conditions such as tachycardia, neuropathy (especially peripheral pains such as pain in legs), etc., must tell their physician about such conditions.
In some remote cases, users have encountered difficulties to pass stools. This is not a common outcome of taking amlodipine, but may show up in some people. Your dietician may advise intake of more glasses of water, consumption of foods rich in fiber such as fruits, vegetables and / or whole grains. In some rare instances, your caregiver may recommend the use of stool softening meds or laxatives. You need to remember that such meds can tend to be habit forming. Hence, needful caution is required while using stool softeners.
In sum, amlodipine is a calcium channel blocking med. It is used for reducing high level of blood pressure and to prevent chest pain or angina. This med dilates your arteries and enables free flow of blood. Amlodipine is not administered while having pain in chest area. For adults living with hypertension, dosage is maintained in between 2.5 and 5 mg per day. However, for patients aged above 55 years, the dose is maintained at 2.5 mg each day. The dose is taken orally, and is restricted to once within a 24-hour timeline. It is highly recommended to consult with your treating doctor to know more about amlodipine and the precautions needed for the safer intake of this calcium channel blocking drug.