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Amlodipine besylate is a calcium channel blocker, a medication that blocks calcium signaling in the muscles to limit muscle contractions. Doctors usually prescribe amlodipine besylate to treat high blood pressure, and the medication can also be used for coronary artery disease and certain kinds of angina. This drug is available by prescription only, and it needs to be kept in a safe place out of reach of children and pets, as it can be dangerous in people who do not have hypertension.
For reduction of hypertension, this drug works by relaxing the overall peripheral resistance in the cardiovascular system, lowering blood pressure. The relaxation of the heart muscle seen in patients taking amlodipine besylate can also have benefits for people with heart problems. Patients usually start on a low dosage and gradually taper up to find the best dosage, one where the patient's blood pressure improves and side effects remain minimal.
The safety of amlodipine besylate in pregnancy is a potential issue. Pregnant patients, along with people who have a history of liver disease, should discuss the precautions associated with this drug before taking it. There may be a more appropriate alternative with fewer risks for these patients. Common amlodipine side effects can include nausea, dizziness, and swelling of the extremities. Patients who faint, develop chest pain, or experience worsening symptoms should report these issues to their doctors to receive evaluation and treatment.
Known by brand names like Norvasc®, amlodipine besylate can be a standalone prescription or part of combination therapy. If a doctor prescribes multiple medications to a patient, it is important to review all the drugs the patient is taking to check for signs of bad drug interactions and other issues. Patients on multiple drugs may also need a pill organizer or other tools to help them keep track of their medications.
Doctors may advise patients with high blood pressure to pursue multiple means for controlling their hypertension. This can include introducing diet and exercise modifications into the patient's life. These can support the action of medications and keep blood pressure under control. If a high blood pressure medication does not appear effective in a patient, other medications may be tried. Most of these medications have an adjustment period where the patient may feel unwell as the blood pressure returns to a safer level, and it is important to not stop hypertension medications abruptly unless there is a compelling medical reason to do so.