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What Is Amlodipine?

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  • Written By: Alex Tree
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 09 December 2016
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Amlodipine is a prescription medication used as a calcium channel blocker, meaning it can impede the movement of calcium around a person’s body. This prescription drug is often used to treat high blood pressure and control heart rate, lowering it to a healthier level. Amlodipine is typically taken once per day and is available in a hard tablet form. The drug is useful in lowering blood pressure and heart rate because, as a calcium channel blocker, it reduces the flow of calcium through a person's system, leading to a decreased contraction in muscles like the heart. Side effects of overdose include changes in heart beat, odd chest pains, and minor side effects such as nausea and flushing.

The primary use of amlodipine is to lower blood pressure. While the medication lowers blood pressure by reducing muscle contractions, it lowers heart rate through a different mechanism. Calcium channel blockers often reduce the electrical conductivity of the heart muscle, leading to a chain reaction that lowers heart rate. This is a separate effect from the decreased contraction in the heart muscle that lowers blood pressure.

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An important piece of information to be aware of while taking amlodipine is overdose symptoms. This medication affects the heart, and the results of affecting the heart too strongly can be disastrous. For example, if a patient’s heartbeat becomes irregular, speeds up, or changes in another way, the medication is likely having a negative effect on the heart due to an overdose. Strange chest pains or odd patterns of chest pains can also be a sign of overdose, as well as fainting.

Several common side effects of amlodipine are not necessarily dangerous, however, it is typically advised that people taking this prescription medication be on the lookout to ensure side effects do not persist or become severe. Light drowsiness, as well as extreme tiredness, are often experienced by patients taking this drug. Gastrointestinal issues such as stomach pain and upset stomach or nausea are also common. Other typically minor side effects include headache and flushing. Some patients have reported experiencing their bodies swell, typically around the extremities such as feet, ankles, and hands.

In rare cases people taking this medication may experience serious side effects not associated with overdose. For instance, in extremely rare cases, Stevens–Johnson syndrome, a condition where skin cells die and fall off, has been reported. Furthermore, mental side effects such as strange and unusual behavior have also been noted.

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