advertisement
Updated 11 February 2013

Nimodipine

Nimodipine is a medication that widens and relaxes blood vessels.

0

Nimodipine is the active ingredient of Nimotop.

General information

Nimodipine is a medication that widens and relaxes blood vessels. Although originally developed to reduce high blood pressure, it is nowadays more often used to reduce and improve the outcome of subarachnoid haemorrhage, a type of brain bleeding. It is furthermore used for the reduction of cerebral infarction, or a stroke.

Nimodipine does not cure any of these conditions, but keeps them under control. For nimodipine 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.

Avoid drinking grapefruit juice while taking medication, as it may increase the level of nimodipine in your blood, which may lead to additional side effects.

How does nimodipine work?

Calcium plays an important role in the contraction of smooth muscle in the walls of arteries. Blocking the channels though which calcium enters cells in these muscles, leads to relaxation of the muscles. The result is a widening of blood vessels, causing high blood pressure to return to normal and safe levels, while minimising cerebral events.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: Schedule 3

Available as: Tablets and injection

What does it do? Nimodipine reduce high levels of blood pressure and widens blood vessels to prevent stroke and bleeding on the brain

Overdose risk: Medium

Dependence risk: Low

Available as a generic? No

Available on prescription only? Yes

User information

Dietary advice: Avoid drinking grapefruit juice while taking medication as it may increase the level of nimodipine in your blood, which may lead to additional side effects.

Stopping: Consult you prescriber before discontinuing treatment as abrupt withdrawal may cause a return of symptoms.

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

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 unstable angina or recently had an 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: The safety and efficacy of this medication has not been established for children.

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 it affects you.

Alcohol: Avoid concomitant use of alcohol with this medication as it is possible that the 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

Reduce effect of nimodipine; increased effect of epilepsy medication

Digoxin

Increased risk of digoxin toxicity

Ritonavir

Increased risk of nimodipine toxicity

Theophylline

Increased risk of theophylline toxicity

Food interactions

Avoid drinking grapefruit juice while taking medication as it may increase the level of nimodipine 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 unstable angina, have had a recent 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: 60mg every 4 hours with a maximum dose of 360mg per day.

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

 
advertisement

Get a quote

advertisement

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Live healthier

Allergy alert »

Allergy myths Cold or allergy? Children and allergies

Allergy facts vs. fiction

Some of the greatest allergy myths and misconceptions can actually be damaging to your health.

Vitamin wise »

Vitamins for HIV What to eat for vitamin B? Cut down on vitamins

All you need to know about vitamins

Find out which vitamin to use for which condition. Ask our Vitamin expert.