Amlodipine is a calcium channel blocker. It relaxes the arterial wall and makes it easier for blood to pass through blood vessels. The drug can be used to treat hypertension, coronary artery disease, angina pectoris (Prinzmetal’s angina and chronic stable angina pectoris), heart failure (including decompensated heart failure). It can be used as a monotherapy or in combination with other medicines.
Read also Amlodipine Drug Information
Usually, Amlodipine is well-tolerated by the body but about 10.8% of patients who use it can experience some side effects. The most common side effects are:
- Heart palpitations
- Swelling of the feet, ankle and arms
- Stomach pain
- Flushing (warmth, redness and tingly feeling)
Also quite common side effects of Amlodipine include:
- Persistent sore throat
- Dry cough
- Dry mouth
- Gingival hyperplasia with tender, bleeding, and swollen gums
- Esophageal reflux
- Weight gain
- Muscle cramps
- Muscle weakness
- Abnormal dreams
- Eye pain
- Abnormal vision
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Extreme itching
- Red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin
- Rash (usually erythematous or maculopapular)
- Erythema multiforme
- Hair loss
- Increased sweating
- Micturition disorder
- Female sexual dysfunction
- Gynecomastia in men
Like any other drug, Amlodipine can cause allergic reactions that manifest as rash (possible in the form of erythema multiforme), hives, itching, swallowing or breathing difficulty, chest tightness, swelling of the mouth, hands, eyes, face, lips, tongue and throat, unusual hoarseness, angioedema, anaphylaxis, anaphylactic shock. These reactions are serious and require immediate medical help.
Rare side effects
In some rare cases, Amlodipine can cause such side effects as cold and clammy skin, increased appetite, loose stools, taste perversion, parosmia, gastritis, pancreatitis, dysuria, polyuria, alopecia, dermatitis, skin discoloration, skin dryness, urticarial, lichen planus, telangiectasia, bullous pemphigoid, abnormal visual `ommodation, xerophthalmia. There is a very rare case of Stevens–Johnson syndrome developing in patients who use Amlodipine.
Changes in laboratory tests
Amlodipine can cause some changes in the laboratory tests of people using it. Therefore, you should keep in mind that Amlodipine can cause such changes in your blood tests as leukopenia, purpura, thrombocytopenia and hepatic enzyme elevations (alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, alkaline phosphatase, γ-glutamyl transpeptidase, bilirubin).
All these changes are reversible after discontinuation of Amlodipine intake, and blood tests will return to normal.
Amlodipine can cause hyperglycemia especially in patients with diabetes.
Serious side effects
Amlodipine can cause some serious side effects that may require urgent medical attention.
Such serious side effects of Amlodipine include:
- Chest pain
- Arrhythmia (irregular, fast, slow heart beating or extrasystoles)
- Pounding heartbeats or fluttering in the chest
- Cardiac failure
- Pulmonary edema
- Low blood pressure (can manifest in dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting)
- Postural hypotension
- Severe swelling with unexplained weight gain due to water retention
- Decreased urination
- High blood sugar level
- Exacerbation of the pain in patients with coronary heart disease, angina pectoris and acute myocardial infarction
- Symptoms of a heart attack such as chest, jaw, or left arm pain, numbness of an arm or leg, sudden and severe headache or vomiting
- Liver inflammation with hepatitis and cholestasis (can manifest in jaundice, dark urine and pale stools)
- Severe or persistent nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pain
- Severe or persistent muscle pain
- Sudden vision changes
- Blisters or sores in the mouth, nose, throat, or on the genitals
- Unusual bruising or bleeding
- Stevens–Johnson syndrome
Side effects in pregnant women
There are no studies on the side effects of Amlodipine in pregnant women. Therefore, it is advisable to avoid taking this drug during pregnancy.
Side effects in children
The side effects of Amlodipine in children are almost the same as in adults. The most common side effects in children are:
- Fainting episodes
- Stomach pain
- Gum changes
- Swelling in the arms or legs
- Fast heartbeat (not so evident as in adult patients)
Allergic reaction in children can manifest as fever, wheezing, chest tightness, itching, cough, blue skin color, seizures, swelling of face, eyes, lips, tongue, or throat, abnormal behavior.
You may never experience any of the side effects listed above. Your doctor cannot predict your body’s reaction to Amlodipine until you have tried it. That is why you should immediately inform your doctor of any changes in your health condition after taking Amlodipine. Therefore, when you feel something is wrong, ask your doctor for advice and he or she will diagnose if your problem is connected with the medicine intake. You should also be careful because some of the side effects of Amlodipine require urgent medical attention.