amlodipine, Norvasc

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

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PREPARATIONS: Tablets: 2.5, 5, and 10 mg

DRUG INTERACTIONS: Combining amlodipine with sildenafil (Viagra) and similar drugs used for treating erectile dysfunction may lead to excessive reductions in blood pressure with complications, particularly fainting upon standing (orthostatic hypotension).

Amlodipine significantly increases blood levels of simvastatin (Zocor). The dose of simvastatin should be limited to 20 mg daily by patients taking amlodipine.

Ketoconazole (Nizoral, Extina, Xolegel, Kuric), itraconazole (Sporanox), ritonavir (Norvir) and other drugs that are strong inhibitors of amlodipine inactivation in the liver increase blood levels of amlodipine, resulting in excessive blood pressure reduction.

PREGNANCY AND BREASTFEEDING SAFETY: Generally, amlodipine is avoided in pregnancy, and by nursing mothers and children although there are no adequate studies of amlodipine use during pregnancy.

It is not known whether amlodipine is excreted in breast milk. Generally, amlodipine is avoided in pregnancy, and by nursing mothers and children.

STORAGE: Amlodipine should be stored at room temperature in a tight, light resistant container.

DOSING: The recommended starting dose of amlodipine for children and adults is 2.5 to 5 mg once daily. The maximum dose for adults is 10 mg once daily and the maximum dose for children is 5 mg once daily. Amlodipine can be taken with or without food. Amlodipine is inactivated mainly by the liver, and dosages may need to be lowered in patients with liver dysfunction.

DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Amlodipine belongs to a class of medications called calcium channel blockers (CCBs). These medications block the transport of calcium into the smooth muscle cells lining the arteries of the heart (coronary arteries) and other arteries of the body. Since the action of calcium is important for muscle contraction, blocking calcium transport relaxes arterial muscles and expands (dilates) coronary arteries and other arteries of the body. By dilating coronary arteries, amlodipine increases the flow of blood to the heart and is useful in preventing heart pain (angina) resulting from reduced flow of blood to the heart caused by coronary artery spasm (contraction). Relaxing the muscles lining the arteries in the rest of the body lowers blood pressure, which reduces the work that the heart must do to pump blood to the body. Reducing the work of the heart also lessens the heart muscle's need for oxygen, and thereby further helps to prevent angina in patients with coronary artery disease. The FDA approved amlodipine in July 1992.

Medically reviewed by Eni Williams, PharmD

Reference: FDA Prescribing Information

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/31/2016

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