Meds and you

Updated 11 February 2013

Atorvastatin and amlodipine in combination

The combination of atorvastatin and amlodipine offers the proven blood pressure-lowering benefit of amlodipine and the cholesterol-lowering benefit of atorvastatin calcium.

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The combination of atorvastatin and amlodipine makes up the active ingredients of Caduet.

General information

The combination of atorvastatin and amlodipine offers the proven blood pressure-lowering benefit of amlodipine and the cholesterol-lowering benefit of atorvastatin calcium.

When taken along with diet and exercise, this combination lowers high blood pressure and high cholesterol. It can also lower the chances of having a heart attack and stroke if you have multiple risk factors and have no history of heart disease. These risk factors include high blood pressure, age, low good cholesterol, smoking, and family history.

Your doctor should do blood tests to check your liver function before and during treatment and may adjust your dose.

The most common side effects are oedema, headache and dizziness. They tend to be mild and often go away.

Atorvastatin and amlodipine in combination is not a cure for high cholesterol or blood pressure, but simply keeps it under control and lowers the chances of having a heart attack and stroke. For this medication to be effective, it has to be taken regularly, even if you do not notice an immediate effect. The full benefit of treatment with this medication will only be seen after 4 - 6 weeks and time should be allowed for the combination reach its full effect.

Your doctor should start you on a low-fat diet before starting you on this combination. Stay on this low-fat diet while you are taking this medicine.

The combination of amlodipine and atorvastatin comes in many different strengths. Your doctor will test your cholesterol and blood pressure to find the right dose for you.

How does atorvastatin work?

Atorvastatin works by blocking an enzyme in the liver required for the manufacturing of cholesterol. As an indirect result total blood levels of bad cholesterol - LDL - is lowered. Levels of HDL - the good cholesterol - are also elevated.

Amlodipine is a calcium-channel blocker. Calcium plays an important role in the contraction of heart muscle, as well as smooth muscle in the walls of arteries. By blocking the channels through which calcium enters cells in these muscles, relaxation of these muscles is obtained. The result is a reduced workload of the heart (and a decrease in occurrence of angina), as well as a widening of blood vessels causing high blood pressure to return to normal and safe levels.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: schedule 4

Available as: the combination of atorvastatin and amlodipine is available as tablets.

What does it do? The combination of atorvastatin and amlodipine lowers blood pressure and high levels of cholesterol.

Overdose risk: medium

Dependence risk: Low

Is the combination of atorvastatin and amlodipineavailable as a generic? no

Is the combination of atorvastatin and amlodipine available on prescription only? yes

User information

Onset of effect: within 4 weeks.

Duration of action: up to 24 hours.

Dietary advice: a healthy, low-fat, low cholesterol, high fibre diet is advised for optimal results.

Stopping this medicine: the combination of atorvastatin and amlodipine should not be stopped suddenly without consulting your doctor. Once discontinued, blood cholesterol levels and blood pressure may return to its original, elevated levels.

Prolonged use: long-term use can affect liver function. Muscle function may also be affected. Your doctor may perform periodic tests to keep an eye on these risk factors.

Special precautions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if:

  • you have a liver or kidney disease
  • you have a disease affecting your muscles
  • you are consuming large amounts of alcohol on a regular basis
  • you have diabetes
  • you have a thyroid disorder
  • you are taking other medication

Pregnancy: avoid. Potential risk to the foetus has been reported. Consult your doctor before use, or if you are planning to fall pregnant.

Breastfeeding: avoid. This medication is passed through breast milk and may affect your baby adversely. Consult your doctor before use.

Porphyria: avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect your condition. Consult your doctor before use.

Infants and children: this medication is not intended for use in children.

The elderly: no special precautions need to be taken.

Driving and hazardous work: no special precautions need to be taken.

Alcohol: avoid excessive alcohol use as it may increase the risk of liver-related complications.

Possible side effects

Side effect

Frequency

Consult your doctor

Common

Rare

Only if severe

In all cases

nausea

x

x

headache

x

x

constipation

x

x

diarrhoea

x

x

dizziness/ light-headedness

x

x

swelling/ weight gain

x

x

fever

x

x

chest pain

x

x

unexplained muscle pain/ weakness

x

x

fatigue

x

x

drowsiness

x

x

skin rash

x

x

jaundice

x

x

impotence

x

x

insomnia

x

x

Interactions

Drug interactions

clarithromycin and erythromycin antibiotics

increased risk of muscle damage

antifungal drugs

increased risk of muscle damage

other cholesterol lowering drugs

increased risk of muscle damage

warfarin

increased risk of warfarin toxicity

ciclosporin and other immunosuppressive drugs

increased risk of muscle damage

ace inhibitor drugs

possible decrease in blood pressure

beta blocking drugs

increased risk of heart failure

cimetidine

increased risk of amlodipine toxicity

digoxin

increased risk of digoxin toxicity

ritonavir

increased risk of amlodipine toxicity

theophylline

increased risk of theophylline toxicity

Disease interactions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if you have a liver or kidney disease, diabetes, a thyroid disorder,or if you have a disease affecting your muscles.

Overdose action

A small overdose is no cause for concern. In case of intentional large overdose seek emergency medical attention.

This material is not intended to substitute medical advice, but is for informational purposes only. Please consult a physician for specific treatment and recommendations.

 

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