Meds and you

Updated 11 February 2013

Felodipine

Felodipine is also one of multiple active ingredients found in Tri-Plen and Tri-Plen Forte (both felodipine + ramipril).

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Felodipine is the active ingredient of Felodipine-Hexal and Plendil.

Felodipine is also one of multiple active ingredients found in Tri-Plen and Tri-Plen Forte (both felodipine + ramipril).

General information

Felodipine is a medication that widens and relaxes blood vessels, and decrease the rate at which the heart beats.

It is used for the treatment of high blood pressure.

Felodipine does not cure this condition, but keeps it under control. For felodipine to be effective, it has to be taken regularly, even if you do not notice any immediate effect - it may take several weeks to notice the full benefit.

Be aware that, at the start of treatment, you may feel dizzy, especially when getting up suddenly. Caution is advised.

It is advised to avoid drinking grapefruit juice while taking this medication as it may increase the level of felodipine in your blood, which may lead to additional side effects.

How does felodipine work?

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 though which calcium enters cells in these muscles, relaxation of these muscles is achieved. The result is a reduced workload of the heart, as well as widening of blood vessels, causing high blood pressure to return to normal and safe levels.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: Schedule 3

Available as: Tablets

What does it do? Felodipine reduce high levels of blood pressure

Overdose risk: Medium

Dependence risk: Low

Available as a generic? Yes

Available on prescription only? Yes

User information

Onset of effect: Within 5 hours.

Duration of action: Up to 24 hours.

Dietary advice: Felodipine should be taken on an empty stomach, or with a light meal; a low-salt and low-fat diet is advised. It is also advised to avoid drinking grapefruit juice while taking this medication as it may increase the level of felodipine in your blood, which may lead to additional side effects.

Stopping this medicine: Do not withdraw treatment abruptly, as this may cause a return of symptoms; consult your prescriber before discontinuing treatment.

Prolonged use: Although no problem is expected with long-term use, your doctor may occasionally request kidney and liver function tests.

Special precautions

Alert your doctor before using this drug if:

  • you have a liver or kidney disease,
  • you have or have had congestive heart failure,
  • you have had stroke or a heart attack,
  • you have a condition affecting the rhythm of your heart, or
  • 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. This medication may cause serious adverse effects. Consult your doctor before use.

Infants and children: Safety and efficacy of this medication has not been established for children under the age of 12.

Elderly: Caution is advised in the elderly as dosage adjustment may be needed.

Driving and hazardous work : Caution is advised as use of this medication may lead to dizziness, light-headedness and/or sedation. Avoid such activities until you know how this medication affects you.

Alcohol: Avoid concomitant use of alcohol with this medication, as it is possible this combination may cause a further drop in blood pressure, adding to dizziness. Caution is advised.

Possible side effects

Side effect

Frequency

Consult your doctor

Common

Rare

Only if severe

In all cases

Flushing

x

x

Skin rash

x

x

Headache

x

x

Swelling

x

x

Dizziness/ Weakness

x

x

Chest pain

x

x

Palpitations

x

x

Runny nose/ sore throat

x

x

Constipation/ diarrhoea/ abdominal discomfort

x

x

Muscle pain/ cramps

x

x

Slow heartbeat

x

x

Low blood pressure

x

x

Fainting

x

x

Interactions

Drug interactions

ACE inhibitor drugs

Possible decrease in blood pressure

Beta blocking drugs

Increased risk of heart failure

Drugs for epilepsy

Reduced affect of felodipine; increased affect of epilepsy medication

Some antifungal drugs

Increased risk of felodipine toxicity

Cimetidine

Increased risk of felodipine toxicity

Erythromycin

Increased risk of felodipine toxicity

Digoxin

Increased risk of digoxin toxicity

Ritonavir

Increased risk of felodipine toxicity

Theophylline

Increased risk of theophylline toxicity

Food interactions

A low-salt, low-fat diet is advised. Alcohol may cause a drop in blood pressure; and it is advisable to avoid drinking grapefruit juice while taking medication as it may increase the level of felodipine in your blood, which may lead to additional side effects.

Disease interactions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if you have a liver or kidney disease, congestive heart failure, have had stroke or heart attack, or if you have a condition affecting the rhythm of your heart.

Overdose action

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

Recommended dosage

Adults, oral: 5-20mg once a day. A lower dose (2.5-10mg) may be needed for the elderly.

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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