What Is Cilnidipine?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Cilnidipine is a calcium channel blocker that can work to lower blood pressure in patients with essential hypertension. It acts on cell signaling pathways involved in muscle contraction to allow the blood vessels to relax and encourage the heart to beat less forcefully. This medication may be considered as a possible treatment option if the patient doesn’t respond to other treatments. Side effects are a potential concern and patients may need to be carefully evaluated while on this drug to check for adverse reactions and respond quickly if they develop.

Cilnidipine may be used to lower blood pressure in individuals with hypertension.
Cilnidipine may be used to lower blood pressure in individuals with hypertension.

In patients with essential hypertension, the blood pressure is high with no underlying cause. These patients can be at risk of cardiovascular complications and kidney damage in the long term, making it important to control their blood pressure effectively. Medications like cilnidipine can help lower blood pressure and keep it low, protecting the heart and blood vessels to promote long-term health. New medications in the calcium channel blocker class are regularly under development to improve treatment options.

Cilnidipine is a calcium channel blocker.
Cilnidipine is a calcium channel blocker.

Doctors may recommend starting this drug at a low dose and slowly increasing to find the most effective dose with the fewest side effects. Patients need to take the drug regularly for best results, and may need to follow other advice such as exercising regularly and eating a balanced diet to keep their blood pressure under control. Periodic visits to a medical provider offer a chance to check blood pressure and monitor for side effects. If the patient reacts badly to the drug, alternatives are available.

If left untreated, hypertension can precipitate stroke or heart disease.
If left untreated, hypertension can precipitate stroke or heart disease.

A dangerous drop in blood pressure is possible when starting cilnidipine, potentially causing dizziness, fainting, and a cold sweat. Patients can also develop side effects like chest pain and nausea, which can indicate that the heart is not getting enough oxygen. Side effects like these are more likely if the patient is taking another medication that can lower blood pressure, including some psychiatric medications along with other hypotensive agents.

Calcium channel blockers may cause dry mouth and tooth erosion.
Calcium channel blockers may cause dry mouth and tooth erosion.

Preexisting heart conditions can be a contraindication for cilnidipine. Patients with unstable angina or acute myocardial infarction are at risk of cardiac ischemia, where heart cells suffer oxygen deprivation and could die, if they take this medication. It is also important to be aware that angina can develop after stopping cilnidipine, especially if the patient halts abruptly and does not take measures to address concerns about blood pressure. Tapering carefully off the medication is as important as slowly introducing it at the start to reduce the risk of severe reactions.

A patient taking cilnidipine may also need to exercise regularly to keep their blood pressure under control.
A patient taking cilnidipine may also need to exercise regularly to keep their blood pressure under control.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments

ddljohn

@stoneMason-- That's the major benefit of this drug. It can affect blood pressure that other calcium channel blockers may not be effective for.

The difference with cilnidipine is that it acts on both L-type and N-type calcium channels. Most other calcium channel blockers act on one. So this is often a drug that doctors will try when they can't get a patient's blood pressure to respond to other calcium channel blockers.

stoneMason

@serenesurface-- I don't know about that. I am only using cilnidipine for my high blood pressure and it is working fine. I was on another medication before which was not working as well. My doctor switched me to cilnidipine and I'm doing much better. I've not had sudden blood pressure increases as before.

I haven't noticed too many side effects. The major side effect I have is fatigue. I just feel very tired all the time. I'm going to mention it to my doctor soon. I do want to stay on cilnidipine though because I like how it's working otherwise.

serenesurface

Is cilnidipine usually used alone or together with other high blood pressure medications? Which form of use is most effective for keeping blood pressure under control?

And is anyone here on cilnidipine right now? Do you experience side effects from it?

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