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Drugs & Supplements

Calcium Channel Blockers

Medication names

amlodipine (Norvasc®)
felodipine (Plendil®)

Why is this medication is prescribed?

A calcium channel blocker is prescribed to treat angina (chest pain) and high blood pressure. Calcium channel blockers affect the movement of calcium in the cells of the heart and blood vessels. As a result, a calcium channel blocker relaxes blood vessels and increases the supply of blood and oxygen to the heart, while reducing its workload.

A calcium channel blocker is used to treat high blood pressure when other medications to lower blood pressure are ineffective. Generally, a calcium channel blocker should NOT be used if you have heart failure due to systolic dysfunction.

When do I take this medication?

Take this medication with food or milk. Follow the label directions on how often to take it. The number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and how long you need to take it will depend on the type of medication prescribed and on your condition.

Special Directions
  • While taking this medication, have your blood pressure checked regularly, as advised by your doctor or nurse.
  • While taking this medication, your doctor or nurse may tell you to take and record your pulse daily. Your provider will tell you how rapid your pulse should be. If your pulse is slower than advised, contact your doctor or nurse about taking your calcium channel blocker that day.
Food and Drug Interactions
  • Do not eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice while taking a calcium channel blocker.
  • Alcohol interferes with the effects of calcium channel blockers and increases the side effects — it should be avoided while taking this medication.
Side Effects
  • Drowsiness, increased appetite: Contact your doctor or nurse if these side effects are persistent or severe.
  • Weight gain, breathing difficulty, coughing or wheezing, irregular or slow heartbeat, skin rash, lower leg swelling: Contact your doctor or nurse right away.
Sources

ACC/AHA Guidelines for the Evaluation and Management of Chronic Heart Failure in the Adult

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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 11/12/2010...#12884