Sep 21, 2021

A Basic Guide to Amlodipine

Amlodipine (also marketed under the brand names Amvaz®, Katerzia® and Norvasc®) is commonly prescribed with or without other medications to treat high blood pressure. It is also used to treat certain types of chest pain and coronary artery disease (CAD). 

If you or someone you know is struggling with high blood pressure, chest pain, or coronary artery disease, Amlodipine may be able to help. Use the below information as a guide to help you determine if it could be the proper medication for you, but always first consult with your healthcare physician before starting any new medication.

High Blood Pressure & CAD

High blood pressure ( hypertension) is a condition in which the force of the blood pushing against the walls of the blood vessels, or the pressure of your blood against the blood vessels is consistently too high.

The circulatory system carries oxygenated blood throughout tissue and organs to help our bodies survive and function correctly. As our heart beats, it generates pressure that pushes blood through our arteries, veins, and capillaries. This pressure is a result of two forces:

  • Systolic pressure- blood that pumps out of the heart and into the arteries that are part of the circulatory system. 

  • Diastolic pressure- when the heart rests between heart beats.

Systolic and diastolic pressure are each represented by numbers in a blood pressure reading.

Coronary artery disease (CAD) occurs when the major vessels that supply blood to your heart become damaged. A buildup of plaque causes the arteries to narrow. As a result, there is limited blood flow to the heart. 

Complications and Symptoms of High Blood Pressure & CAD

Hypertension can cause various symptoms and health complications if not controlled. Complications from high blood pressure include, but are not limited to:

High blood pressure is known as the "silent killer" because sometimes it doesn't show any symptoms. It is important to check your numbers regularly and make lifestyle changes if you are at risk. With that being said, some signs of high blood pressure are:

  • Severe headaches (usually occurs when blood pressure is critically high, above 180/120)

  • Nosebleed (usually occurs when blood pressure is critically high, above 180/120)

  • Fatigue/confusion

  • Vision problems

  • Chest pain

  • Irregular heartbeat

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Blood in the urine

  • Pounding in your chest, neck, or ears

If you are experiencing any of these, see your doctor immediately. You could be having a hypertension crisis that can lead to stroke or heart attack. 

Those with CAD may also not have any symptoms, while others may experience the following:

  • Chest pain

  • Nausea/Indigestion

  • Lightheadedness 

  • Sweating

  • Fast heart rate

  • Shortness of breath

It's critical to see your physician as soon as possible if you experience any of the above, as you increase your risk for a heart attack if left untreated. 

What is Amlodipine, and How Does it Work? 

Amlodipine is in a drug class of medications called calcium channel blockers. It lowers blood pressure by helping the blood vessels relax, so the heart does not have to pump as hard. To control chest pain, Amlodipine increases the blood supply to the heart. If taken regularly, Amlodipine can control chest pain, but it can't stop chest pain once it starts.

How Do You Use Amlodipine to Treat High Blood Pressure, Chest Pain, and CAD? 

It is essential that you first consult with your healthcare provider before starting any new prescription medication. Also, always be sure to carefully follow the recommendations of your health care provider, use the medication as instructed and as per the directions on the prescription label. 

Use your prescription Amlodipine in accordance with the directions of your healthcare provider. This medication will be of the most benefit to you if you take it regularly. You should continue to take the medication even if you're not experiencing any symptoms since high blood pressure and CAD can present with no symptoms. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting  your doctor first. 

What Are the Possible Side Effects of Amlodipine?

It is possible to experience side effects when using Amlodipine. Contact your doctor right away if any of these below symptoms don't go away or worsen in severity.

Common side effects include:

  • Swelling of the hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs

  • Headache

  • Nausea/upset stomach

  • Stomach pain

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness

  • Drowsiness

  • Excessive tiredness

  • Flushing

Serious side effects can also occur. If you experience any allergic reactions, hives, difficulty breathing, swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat, seek medical attention immediately. 

Call your physician as soon as possible if you experience fast/pounding/irregular heartbeat or fainting. Amlodipine is effective in preventing chest pains. However, there is a chance you may experience increased chest pain or a heart attack when starting this medication if you have severe heart disease. Seek medical attention right away if you experience worsening chest pain or symptoms of a heart attack (chest/jaw/left arm pain, shortness of breath, unusual sweating).

Amlodipine may be the solution treatment for you or someone you know who suffers from high blood pressure, chest pain, or CAD. At CareCard, we are passionate about helping make your prescription payments more affordable, saving members up to 85% on prescription drugs and medications. You can search for an Amlodipine coupon here and learn how CareCard can help make your medication payments more manageable.

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