High level of blood pressure or hypertension indicates that the heart is working very hard to perform its normal activities; which means, it is functioning more than what is needed. This medical condition can either be essential hypertension or secondary hypertension. Essential hypertension may show up without any known reason. High blood pressure in a large number of people is of this type. On the other hand, secondary hypertension is caused by a known reason – say, malfunctioning of kidneys, etc. People who are obese and those who lead a sedentary way of living are more vulnerable. As extended risk factors, smoking as well as consumption of alcohol is also likely to develop this condition. If left untreated, high blood pressure can cause severe injuries to kidneys, eyes and other vital organs. Norvasc is a widely used drug to treat hypertension. A proper understanding of its side effects can ensure safe consumption of this medication.
Blood pressure is measured through two (2) numbers, namely systolic and diastolic pressure. Of these two, the pressure experienced when your heart discharges blood to other parts of the body is known as systolic pressure or in simple terms, the maximum point of pressure. As your heart is filling up with blood, it experiences a base-level pressure; this is called diastolic pressure. The unit of blood pressure is mm of mercury (mm Hg), written in the form of systolic over diastolic – for example, 110 / 75 mm Hg. When the reading crosses beyond 130/90 mm Hg, it may indicate a likely incidence of hypertension.
Your habits such as smoking, consumption of excessive amounts of fats, etc., your medical history and your family’s clinical history (presence of cardiac ailments and high levels of cholesterol), type of lifestyle pursued i.e., either active or sedentary way of living; all such factors contribute to the risk factors. A high level of blood pressure may show up through symptoms such as weariness, blurring of vision, pain in chest, erratic heartbeats, etc. You may also experience respiratory problems as well as chronic headaches. Your physician may take a few readings of blood pressure which are often spread over a period of time before labelling it as high blood pressure or hypertension. Medical research indicates that more than three high readings are needed to come to a firm conclusion.
The best way to keep blood pressure under control is to measure it in regular intervals. Changes in lifestyle such as minimising the intake of salt, an active lifestyle and regular workouts can help avoid likely risks of high blood pressure. Drugs such as Norvasc are administered as part of the medication plan. The generic name of Norvasc is amlodipine; this drug is categorized under a family of medications known as calcium channel blockers. This drug relaxes the blood vessels and enables better flow of blood. Once blood pressure is under control, it helps reduce risks relating to the incidence of renal disorders, cardiac problems as well as strokes. This drug is also used for the case management of chest pain, also known as angina.
Side effects of Norvasc
This drug can trigger a few side effects. The most common side effects include feeling lightheaded, dizzy, flushing as well as swelling of feet and ankles. These effects may disappear after a short while once your body gets used to the doses. However, if they do not go off on their own and persist for long, you need to talk to your treating physician or pharmacist. In order to manage drowsiness or dizziness, slow down your movements – especially, while standing up soon after a sleeping or sitting posture.
You need to know that most people who consume this drug do not report any major, adverse side effects. However, a few cardiac patients who have had prior episodes of cardiac arrests may experience increased levels of pain. In some very rare instances, such people have also reported having a heart attack. So, watch out for signs such as excessive sweating, gasping for breath, pain on the upper, left portion of the body, etc. If you witness any of these signs, you need to take medical attention without any delay.
Tell your doctor and pharmacist if you have any known allergies or hypersensitivity to amlodipine or other calcium channel blocking drugs Norvasc is unlikely to cause any acute allergies or associated side effects. But, a very small percentage of users have experienced allergies in the form of itchiness, respiratory problems (such as a slower rate of breathing, gasping, etc.) and rashes on skin. In remote instances, people have also noticed inflammation of facial or oral parts of the body. Upon experiencing any of the aforesaid symptoms, you are advised to take medical attention on an emergency basis. You may also need to remember that the above mentioned list does not represent a comprehensive list of side effects or allergic reactions of Norvasc. So, if you experience any other abnormal signs or symptoms, it is highly recommended to talk to your treating physician immediately.
Very serious or more adverse signs such as fainting or passing out may show up in extremely rare cases among people who consume this drug. If you happen to develop such conditions, you need to immediately get in touch with 911. As an alternative, you can contact the emergency helpline numbers of the food and drug administration (FDA). If you are living in any of the Canadian provinces, you can get in touch either with Health Canada or with a poison control center located in your province.
Dosage of Norvasc
This drug is administered based on your present health condition as well as how well your body is responding to this medication. Upon witnessing positive outcomes, your treating physician may enhance the strength of doses slowly, over a period of time. It is taken either before or after a meal; the usually administered dosage level is once each day. It is a good practice to take the drug at the same time every day of the medication plan. This will enhance the efficacy of the drug to a greater extent.
Your doctor may advise a long-term use of this drug. You may need to consume it even after the symptoms of high blood pressure cease to exist. However, if your blood pressure remains at a high level or if the pain in chest persists for long, you need to talk to your physician immediately.
Overdose of Norvasc
The liquid form of this medication needs to be measured using the ladle or spoon provided along with the drug. Usage of household spoons or containers to measure the doses may lead to possible risks of overdose. Also, if you have missed a dose and if you are taking the missed dose along with the next dose, such a practice can also lead to a likely overdose. So, if you have missed a dose and if the next dose is already coming closer, skip the missed dose. In the event of an overdose, this drug may trigger adverse conditions such as breathing problems, excessive spell of drowsiness, dizziness, fainting, etc. You are advised to contact your doctor as quickly as possible. You may also call 911 (if you are in the US) or a local poison control center (both in the US and Canada) for timely medical attention.
Risks of interactions with other medications
In order to avoid likely interactions with other drugs, you are advised to tell your doctor about the other medications you are currently consuming. Apart from the drugs your take presently, it is a good practice to tell your doctor about other treatment plans that you may be simultaneously pursuing.
While sharing such critical information, you must ensure to include all possible forms of drugs – including, OTC medicines, prescribed drugs as well as herbal aids or other dietary supplements. As some of the other drugs may trigger a hike in your blood pressure levels, your physician needs to know the details. Take needful guidance from your pharmacist as well if you are taking OTC products such as dietary supplements or aids, cough suppressants, cold relief drugs, pain relievers or NSAIDs such as naproxen, aspirin, ibuprofen, etc.
If you have a prior history of hypersensitivity to calcium channel blockers such as nifedipine, nisoldipine, etc., you need to inform your physician about the allergic reactions. Inactive or passive substances present in Norvasc can also interact with other drugs and can hence trigger allergies. It is a good practice to talk to your treating doctor as well as the pharmacist for needful clarifications of such possibilities.
Other safety measures linked to the intake of Norvasc
As mentioned above, dizziness or feeling drowsy is one of the common side effects of Norvasc. It is strongly recommended to avoid taking alcohol or drugs which can make you drowsy. For example, you may need to stay away from cannabis or marijuana. If you have the habit of drinking alcohol, you are advised to talk to your doctor who may suggest you with a safer level of consumption. Also, you are not advised to engage in driving, use or work on heavy machinery. In short, it is considered safe not to perform activities that may require a fairly high level of mental agility and nimbleness.
As a greater precaution, tell your medical team (including the pharmacist) about your prior medical conditions, if any. Share needful details if you have had conditions such as cardiac arrests, hypotension (exceedingly lower levels of blood pressure), hepatic conditions such as cirrhosis of the liver, etc. While administering this drug to elderly people, you need to exercise additional caution; the odds of allergies are high among older people. Older people have reported extreme levels of drowsiness and dizziness soon after taking Norvasc. You need to talk to the treating doctor to prescribe needful alternatives if you witness a persistent episode of dizziness or being lightheaded.
If you are planning to get pregnant, you need to tell your doctor about such plans prior to starting the doses. Women who are already pregnant may need to use it only if it is absolutely essential. Breastfeeding mothers may need to stay away from it as this drug can pass through mothers’ milk to infants.
In sum, inform the treating doctor if you are allergic to Norvasc. Though it is unlikely to cause extremely serious side effects, a segment of users have reported reactions such as respiratory problems, itchiness and rashes on skin. The most common side effects of Norvasc are flushing, swelling of feet or ankles, feeling lightheaded and dizziness. Such minor side effects may disappear soon after a few days. If these do not go away, you need to take needful help from your treating physician. Also, some people with cardiac ailments may report chest pain. You are advised to be aware of respiratory problems, excessive sweating, pains or discomforts on the upper, left arm. If you experience any of these signs, you need to seek medical help on an emergency basis.