Amlodipine is commercially available as Norvasc, and belongs to a group of drugs that treat hypertension by blocking calcium channels. By blocking calcium channels, Amlodipine relaxes blood vessels and widens their circumference, which eventually leads to improved blood flow. It is generally well-tolerated and does not cause any side effects until a dosage of more than 10mg per day is registered. In higher doses, different side effects are experienced, described in detail below.
Skin-Related Side Effects
Skin related side effects are common in patients who overdose on Amlodipine. Since Amlodipine blocks calcium channels, this disrupts the calcium transport in the dermal layer of the skin. Side effects that are related to the skin include rash, skin dryness and discolouration. Patients have also reported an increased level of sweating in the body after consuming an inappropriate dosage of Norvasc.
Water-Related Side Effects
Oedema, is the increase of water in the body tissues leading to swelling. Oedema is the most commonly reported side effect in patients taking Amlodipine. Overdosing of Amlodipine can also cause excessive sweating, fatigue and skin flushing. Unlike other diuretic drugs (drugs that increase the excretion of water from bodies), these set of calcium blocking hypotensive medications work to increase levels of water in the body.
Metabolism-Related Side Effects
Less than 1% of the patients who start Amlodipine, experience issues with weight gain, weight loss, dehydration and high blood sugar. Out of these patients, a few have been diagnosed with diabetes after overdosing on Amlodipine. With this in mind, Amlodipine has been declared unsafe for patients with diabetes.
Hepatic (Liver-Related) Side Effects
Patients with liver or gallbladder related diseases should declare this to the prescribing doctor before taking Amlodipine. Patients who have hepatitis have been found to experience jaundice and altered enzyme levels, which can be dangerous.
Blood-Related Side Effects
Due to the calcium blocking nature of the drug, there have been less than 1% reported cases of leukopenia. Leukopenia is a condition where patients experience loss of white blood cells, and thrombocytopenia, where patients experience a mild loss of platelets.
Gastrointestinal Side Effects
A few patients complain of abdominal pain and nausea as side effects associated with Amlodipine. Uncommon side effects include vomiting, flatulence and indigestion, while less than 0.1% of the patients report altered taste and gastritis. Patients have also complained of irregular urination, with cases of incontinence, painful urination or increased urinary frequency.
Neural/Neurological Side Effects
Most common side effects of Amlodipine occur in the nervous system. Patients complain of dizziness and headaches after starting the drug, but the side effects resolve on their own once their body gets accustomed to the drug. Very rarely, consumers have also complained of tremors and migraines. Neurological side effects have also been reported as an onset of this drug consumption, as patients have complained of apathy, amnesia, nervousness, lack of sexual libido and insomnia.
Cardiovascular Side Effects
Since this drug is a calcium channel blocker and directly targets hypertension, cardiovascular side effects have been observed in rare cases when consumed in larger doses. Patients have experienced heart palpitations, irregular heart rate, low blood pressure levels and chest pain. Uncommon side effects include cardiac failure, while rare onset of heart attack or angina have been reported. These rare side effects have mostly been recorded in patients who had been administered Amlodipine despite suffering from obstructive coronary artery disease.
Before starting Amlodipine, it is important to confide in your general physician regarding your history, overall health and any additional medicines you might be on. Amlodipine is not recommended for patients with heart or liver disease.
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