High Blood Pressure/Hypertension Medication – Amlodipine

There are several types of high blood pressure medications. The core aim is to get the blood pressure down.

One type is the Calcium Channel Blocker which prevents calcium into the heart. Then there are several varieties such as Amlodipine. It reduces the heart’s workrate and relaxes or enlarges the blood vessels.

[See American Heart Association. (2016). Types of Blood Pressure Medications. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/Types-of-Blood-Pressure-Medications_UCM_303247_Article.jsp#.VzvUi-Snm-c. United States. 

Cleveland Clinic. (12 Nov 2010). Calcium Channel Blockers. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/drugs_devices_supplements/hic_Calcium_Channel_Blockers. Cleveland, United States.

Mayo Clinic Staff. (2016). Choosing blood pressure medications. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/in-depth/high-blood-pressure-medication/art-20046280. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. United States.]

The negative impacts from taking the medication includes: coughing or wheezing, dizziness, fatigue for example.  The Cleveland Clinic piece warns alcohol ‘…should be avoided while taking this medication’. This is because it aggravates the medication’s side effects and hampers its efficacy.  But the NPS MedicineWise (when relating to one specific brand – Amlodipine Pfizer – states: ‘Your doctor may advise you to limit your alcohol intake.’). The United States National Library of Medicine on its MedlinePlus website does not even mention alcohol. So one sees a difference in medical opinion here.

[See Pfizer Australia Pty Ltd. (Nov 2014). Amlodipine Pfizer Tablets. http://www.nps.org.au/medicines/heart-blood-and-blood-vessels/blood-pressure-lowering-medicines/amlodipine-blood-pressure-lowering-medicines/amlodipine-pfizer-tablets. NPS MedicineWise. New South Wales, Australia.

U.S. National Library of Medicine. (21 Apr 2016). Amlodipine. https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a692044.html#precautions. Bethesda, United States.]

Grapefruit and its juice are a common no-no on both sides of the Atlantic (ocean) as it raises the Amlodipine amounts in the patient’s blood.

[See National Health Service Choices. Does grapefruit affect my medicine? http://www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/2474.aspx?CategoryID=73&SubCategoryID=103. National Health Service. United Kingdom.]

Additionally, the Singapore Health Sciences Authority in its May 2012 update recommended: ‘Limit the dose of simvastatin in patients on amlodipine to 20 mg daily.’ (Simvastatin is a medication to control excessive cholesterol).

[See Health Sciences Authority. (2014). Safety-related Product Label Amendments. http://www.hsa.gov.sg/content/hsa/en/Health_Products_Regulation/Safety_Information_and_Product_Recalls/Safety-related_Product_Label_Amendments/2012/May.html. Singapore.]

It also seems, and perhaps even widely recognised (locally) that it is exceedingly difficult to get off this and other similar medication in general. The MedlinePlus article records: ‘Continue to take amlodipine even if you feel well. Do not stop taking amlodipine without talking to your doctor.’ Similarly, the American Heart Association writes:’Never stop taking a medication and never change your dose or frequency without first consulting your doctor.’

The final word here as always – The information here 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.

Further, do seek a qualified second opinion when required!

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