Lack of exercise, stress and smoking are just some of the causes that can lead to high blood pressure (hypertension). The active substance amlodipine is used to lower an increased blood pressure again. Amlodipine belongs to the group of calcium antagonists and is one of the most commonly used antihypertensive agents. In medicines, the drug amlodipine is present either as amlodipine besilate or as amlodipine maleate. Bioequivalence has been demonstrated for the two salts: this means that the active substance is present in the blood at the same rate and in equal amounts after ingestion and that the clinical effect is indistinguishable.
Amlodipine: effect and mode of action
Active ingredients such as amlodipine reduce the influx of calcium ions into the cells of the vascular musculature. Due to the lower calcium concentration, the ability of the vascular musculature to contract. This leads to an expansion of the vessels and thus to a reduction in blood pressure. This also relieves the heart, since it has to pump against a lower resistance.
In patients with moderate hypertension, hypertension can be reduced by around ten percent through the effects of amlodipine. Since amlodipine also expands the blood vessels that supply the heart with oxygen, the drug is also used in angina pectoris.
With 40 hours amlodipine has a high half-life and thus a long-lasting effect. The high half-life has the advantage that drugs with amlodipine as the active ingredient only need to be taken once a day. The long half-life also has a positive effect on the treatment of angina pectoris: Since it comes especially in the early morning to seizures, for those affected a drug level, which hardly changes over 24 hours, favorable.
Side effects of amlodipine
Like all other medications, the drug amlodipine has side effects. Since the vessels are relaxed by taking amlodipine, fluid can enter the tissue. This can lead to headaches and water deposits (edema) in the arms and legs.
At the beginning of the treatment facial flushing is one of the most common side effects of amlodipine. These redness arise because the blood circulation is better through the vessel dilation. It can also cause nausea, abdominal pain, dizziness and fatigue. It can also cause insomnia, blurred vision and indigestion. Only very rare side effects of amlodipine are back pain, joint pain, blurred vision or mood swings.
Amlodipine and other blood pressure medicines
When it comes to the prevention of heart attacks, other drugs, such as beta-blockers and ACE inhibitors, are superior to amlodipine. Compared to these two drugs, treatment with amlodipine may increase the risk of heart attack and congestive heart failure. Because of this, amlodipine is often prescribed as a supplement rather than a single medication if blood pressure can not be lowered enough by treatment with beta-blockers or ACE inhibitors.
Interactions with amlodipine
Because the active substance amlodipine, like all other calcium channel blockers, is broken down by the liver enzyme CYP 3A4, the concentration of other drugs that are broken down by the same enzyme can be influenced. Conversely, drugs that inhibit the enzyme CYP 3A4 may also affect blood amlodipine levels. These medications include various antifungals, antibiotics and AIDS medications.
When taking other antihypertensive medications, such as ACE inhibitors or beta blockers, caution should also be exercised: in combination, the effect of antihypertensive agents may be significantly enhanced. Therefore, the dosage of the drugs must be adjusted by a doctor exactly. In principle, possible interactions with other medicines should also be clarified with the doctor before taking amlodipine.
Low blood pressure, advanced heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, unstable angina pectoris, or narrowing of the main artery may not be controlled by the drug amlodipine. Furthermore, amlodipine should not be taken by pregnant women or while breast-feeding. If the use of amlodipine is urgently needed, it should be weaned beforehand, otherwise amlodipine passes into breast milk.
Other contraindications include hypersensitivity to the substance, cardiovascular shock, or severe hepatic dysfunction. Because the liver function is limited, this can lead to an increased blood pressure reduction. Amlodipine should also not be used in children and adolescents, as the effects on this patient group have not been sufficiently researched so far. In addition, it should be noted that the active substance amlodipine impairs the ability to react and thus has negative effects on the driving and use of machines.