High blood pressure is often considered a silent killer. This is because its onset remains largely unnoticed. It is one of the reasons why you need to check blood pressure on a regular basis. Keeping your pressure at a low level is essential for the well-being of your cardiac system, renal function as well as nerve health. Studies indicate that controlling blood pressure levels can keep conditions such as strokes or heart attacks at bay. Thankfully, many forms of drugs are available to keep the pressure under control. Amlodipine is one of such meds. But, what are the side effects of this drug? Care to know more about this before commencing your medication plan.
Blood pressure is the extent of force needed to push blood against the walls of your blood vessels. A high level of blood pressure indicates that your heart is working hard to ensure the supply of blood to all parts of the body. Over a period of time, such hard work can lead to the hardening of your arterial walls. If left untreated, you may encounter renal disorders, strokes, or other cardiac conditions such as heart arrest, etc. Readings of blood pressure are expressed as systolic/diastolic pressure. Its normal reading is 120 / 80; of this, “120” is referred to as systolic, and “80” is labelled as diastolic pressure.
Hypertension (or, high blood pressure) shows up in stages. The first stage is of relatively lesser risk; the readings at this stage may hover in the range of 130/90. The second stage however can be quite risky; here, the readings are around 140+ / 90+. It is deemed a crisis situation when readings are more than 180/120. The leading risk factors of hypertension are smoking, taking excessive levels of salts, being obese, frequent intake of alcohol – i.e., more than 2 drinks each day, leading a sedentary lifestyle, etc.
Intake of amlodipine for hypertension
This drug is taken for reducing high levels of blood pressure. It belongs to a class of meds known as calcium channel blockers. The active chemicals of amlodipine help ease the arterial walls; this action has a direct impact on ensuring a better flow of blood to all parts of your body. Once an adequate supply of blood is restored, your blood pressure level will soon return to a normal level (refer to the normal systolic/diastolic range listed above).
As an extended use, this drug is also taken for decreasing the spells of chest pains; this condition is clinically referred to as “angina”. Amlodipine is not taken when you are experiencing intense episodes of chest pain. This med is never consumed as a self-medication drug; it always needs to be taken under the supervision of a qualified medical professional. It can be taken either before or after a meal. The typical dose is once within a 24-hour timeline. You are advised to read the safety instructions carefully each time you go for a refill. The pill or table form needs to be taken with 7 to 8 ounces of water. While taking the syrup form, shake the liquid form of this drug prior to use. Always use the ladle or spoon offered along with its pack. Never use a spoon from your household, as you may not be able to measure your doses in a precise manner.
Side effects of amlodipine
Like most other drugs, dosages of amlodipine are likely to cause a few undesired side effects and discomforts. Most commonly observed side effects are drowsiness, frequent spells of dizziness, staying lightheaded as well as inflammation of lower limbs – especially, ankles and/or feet. Your treating physician may advise you not to drive or perform activities needing a high level of mental alertness and concentration. For example, stay away from working with heavy machinery or playing adventurous sporting activities such as cycling, swimming, or jumping. Most of these common discomforts may cease to show up once your system gets used to the active ingredients of amlodipine. However, if any one of these unintended effects is found to persist for long, talk to your treating doctor without delay.
Serious side effects and allergies associated with the intake of amlodipine
This drug may also cause a few serious side effects. But, these are not common and are very rarely observed. Such serious side effects include erratic heartbeats, faster pulse rates, loss of coordination, or fainting. You are advised to seek help from your caregiving team or rush to a healthcare setting upon witnessing one or more of these adverse side effects.
In some users, amlodipine may cause a few allergies. Serious allergies include the formation of hives, persistent spells of itchiness, rashes on the skin, swelling of facial parts as well as respiratory conditions (like wheezing or gasping). These are more likely to occur in people who are allergic or hypersensitive to the key chemicals of amlodipine. It is essential to seek clinical support on an urgent basis upon sensing any of these allergic reactions. Those in the US may call 911 or the FDA’s helpline numbers. Canadian users may consider reaching out to a poison control center or call Health Canada as quickly as possible.
It is a safe practice to stop taking alcohol while you are consuming amlodipine. If you are living with conditions like substance abuse or dependencies on cannabis (marijuana), make your caregiver fully aware of these conditions. Also, those aged above 55 years are more likely to witness excessive levels of drowsiness; they may also encounter accidental falls. The dosages administered to elderly patients are at a lower strength. Last but not least, keep your doctor aware of all other meds you are presently taking. Make a list of such drugs; include OTC meds, prescription drugs, herbal supplements, dietary aids, etc. to this list. Once you have shared this list, never make changes to it without telling your caregiver.
In sum, calcium channel blocking (CCB) drug amlodipine is taken to reduce blood pressure levels. This drug is likely to trigger some side effects; common ones include dizziness and swelling of the ankles and feet. As a precautionary measure, keep away from adventurous sports or refrain from working with heavy machines. These side effects may stop once your body is used to the active chemicals of amlodipine. But, if side effects last longer (say, for more than 5 days), consult with your caregiving team in an emergency mode.