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Meds and you

27 September 2013

Lercanidipine

Lercanidipine is a calcium channel-blocker: a medication that widens and relaxes blood vessels, and decreases the rate at which the heart beats.

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Lercanidipine is the active ingredient of Zanidip (Nappi code: 704035-001 & 708037-001).

General information

Lercanidipine is a calcium channel-blocker: a medication that widens and relaxes blood vessels, and decreases the rate at which the heart beats.

In South Africa it is indicated for the treatment of mild to moderately high blood pressure.

Lercanidipine does not cure this condition, but merely keeps it under control. For lercanidipine to be effective, it has to be taken regularly, even if you do not notice any immediate effect. It may take several weeks no notice the full benefit of this medication.

Be aware that, at the start of treatment with this medication, 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 lercanidipine in your blood, which may lead to additional side effects.

How does lercanidipine 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 through which calcium enters cells in these muscles, relaxation of these muscles is obtained. The results 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: lercanidipine is available as tablets.

What does it do? Lercanidipine reduces high blood pressure.

Overdose risk: medium

Dependence risk: low

Is Lercanidipine available as a generic? no

Is Lercanidipine available on prescription only? yes

User information

Onset of effect: within 5 hours

Duration of action: up to 24 hours

Dietary advice: lercanidipine should be taken 15 - 30 minutes before a meal. It is advised to avoid drinking grapefruit juice while taking this medication, as it may increase the level of lercanidipine 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 you prescriber before discontinuing treatment.

Prolonged use: although no problems are expected with long-term use, your doctor may occasionally request kidney and liver function tests.

Special precautions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if:

  • you have a liver or kidney disease
  • you have any heart disease
  • you suffer from angina pectoris
  • you had a recent heart attack
  • you are pregnant
  • 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 breastmilk 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 have not been established for children under the age of 18.

The 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 that this combination may cause a further drop in blood pressure adding to dizziness. Caution is advised.

Possible side effects

Side effects Frequency
Consult your doctor

Common Rare Only if severe In all cases
flushing x
x
dizzieness x
x
vertigo x
x
cough x
x
headache x
x
swelling
x x
eye pain
x
x
fast heart rate
x x
constipation/diarrhoea/abdominal discomfort
x x
skin rash
x
x
low blood pressure
x x
fainting
x
x

Interactions

Drug interactions

cyclosporine increased effects of both agents
drugs for epilepsy reduced effects of lercanidipine
some anti-fungal drugs increased risk of lercanidipine toxicity
cimetidine increased risk of lercanidipine side-effects
erythromycine increased risk of lercanidipine toxicity
digoxin increased risk of digoxin toxicity
ritonavir increased risk of lercanidipine toxicity
grapefruit juice increased risk of lercanidipine toxicity

Food interactions

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

Overdose action

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

Recommended dosage

Adults, oral: 10 - 20mg once a 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.

 
 

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