Norvasc (amlodipine) is a prescription drug most often used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure). It is prescribed as a standalone drug or in combination with other treatments. It can also be used to treat stable angina (chest pain).
Norvasc is in a class of drugs called calcium channel blockers , which work by affecting the amount of calcium that enters the cell. Calcium makes the heart and arteries contract harder; Blocking calcium flow to these cells can help them relax, which lowers blood pressure .
In addition to being marketed as Norvasc, amlodipine is marketed in the United States under the brand name Katerzia and is also available in generic form. It is available in tablet or liquid form.
There are three FDA-approved uses for Norvasca. It can be used to treat:
- Hypertension (6 years and older)
- Chronic stable angina (chest pain)
- Vasospastic angina (chest pain)
Use not indicated on the label
Although not approved by the FDA, Norvasc is sometimes prescribed to treat Raynaud's phenomenon .
Before your healthcare provider prescribes Norvasc, you will be diagnosed with hypertension severe enough to require medication. They will look at your medical history, current health problems, allergies, and other medications or supplements you may be taking. They will also assess your heart health with a physical exam, measurements of your vital signs, and possibly an EKG or echocardiogram .
[Standard Disclaimer: Talk to your doctor about all medications, supplements, and vitamins you are currently taking. While some medications pose a minimal risk of interaction, others may directly contraindicate their use or lead to careful consideration of whether the benefits of treatment outweigh the disadvantages for you.]
Precautions and contraindications.
Before taking this or any medication, consult your doctor about precautions and contraindications to ensure that you do not have any conditions that may prevent you from using this medication.
Norvasc should not be taken by people with hypersensitivity to it or any of its components. Make sure your healthcare provider knows if you have or have ever had:
- Chest pain
- Myocardial infarction
- Low blood pressure (hypotension)
- Swelling of the hands or feet (peripheral edema)
- Aortic stenosis
- Heart failure
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
- Liver disease (people with liver disease can take Norvasc, but must take it in a single dose)
Norvasc should be used with caution during pregnancy, as there is some evidence that it may have adverse effects on a developing baby. Currently, there is insufficient data on people to conduct a comprehensive risk assessment. Amlodipine should be used during pregnancy only if the benefits outweigh the risks.
Norvasc crosses the placenta and is present in breast milk. Caution is advised when breastfeeding. There is only limited data in humans that do not suggest a known risk of harm to infants.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding before starting Norvasc (or any new medicine).
Other calcium channel blockers
If Norvasc (or another form of amlodipine) is unsuitable for you, there are other medicines in the same class to treat high blood pressure:
- Diltiazem (Cardizem, Tiazak, etc.)
- Nifedipine (Adalat CC, Procardia)
- Nisoldipin (Sular)
- Verapamil (Kalan, Verelan)
How your doctor prescribes Norvasc for you will depend on what you are treating. Standard dosages are based on the specific conditions of adults.
- Hypertension : initially 2.5 to 5 mg once a day, if necessary, it can be increased to 10 mg.
- Chronic stable angina or vasospastic angina : 5 mg to 10 mg once a day.
- Raynaud's phenomenon : 5 mg once a day, increasing as needed every four weeks.
[All doses indicated are indicated by the manufacturer of the drug. Check your prescription and talk to your doctor to make sure you are taking the correct dose].
For the elderly and children, the standard doses also differ:
- Elderly with hypertension: Initially, 2.5 mg once a day.
- Elderly with angina pectoris: Initially, 5 mg once a day.
- Children under 6 years of age with arterial hypertension: 0.1 mg / kg / dose once a day, gradually increasing, the maximum daily dose is 0.6 mg / kg / dose.
- Children older than 6 years with hypertension: initially 2.5 mg per day, gradually increasing to 10 mg per day.
- Children older than 6 years with Raynaud's phenomenon: 2.5 to 10 mg a day.
Adults with liver disease also need a specific dose, usually initially 2.5 mg for hypertension and 5 mg daily for angina pectoris.
How to take and store
It is important to carefully follow your healthcare provider's instructions for using Norvasc, as well as other considerations:
- This medicine can be taken with or without food.
- Take Norvasc at the same time every day.
- If you miss a dose, take Norvasc as soon as you know it, unless it is time for your next dose; In this case, skip the missed dose: do not take a double dose.
- Store Norvasc in its original container, away from moisture, heat or direct light, out of the reach of children.
- Do not stop taking this medicine suddenly. Talk to your doctor if you feel you need to stop taking Norvasc first for any reason.
Like all medicines, Norvasc has certain side effects.
Tell your doctor if you experience:
- Painful or bleeding gums
- Indigestion or upset stomach
- Stomach cramps
If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- Swelling of the ankles or feet.
- Chest pain or tightness
- Black tarry stools
- Blood in the urine
- Blurry vision
- Dilated cervical veins
- Accelerated heart
- Hives or rashes
- Yellow eyes or skin (jaundiced)
Warnings and interactions
Norvasc is known to interact with crixivan (indinavir) and priftin (rifapentine). If you are taking one of these, your healthcare professional may adjust the dose of both or either of them to make it safe and effective.
You should not take Norvasc if you are taking any of the following medications:
- Systemic fusidic acid
There are many medications that can interact with Norvasc, but they do not necessarily interfere with taking Norvasc. Your healthcare professional can monitor you closely and / or adjust your dose if you are also taking:
- Alpha Blockers 1
- Antifungal agents
- Combination antihepacyvirus products
- Calcium channel blockers
- Calcium salts
- CYP3A4 inducers
- CYP3A4 inhibitors
- Preparations containing levadopa
- Macrolide antibiotics
- Magnesium salts
- Neuromuscular blockers
- Prostacyclin analogs