felodipine, Plendil

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GENERIC NAME: felodipine


DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Felodipine is an oral calcium- channel blocker (CCB) of the dihydropyridine (DHP) class. Other calcium channel blockers in the DHP class include nifedipine (Procardia, Adalat), amlodipine (Norvasc), nisoldipine (Sular), nicardipine (Cardene), and isradipine (Dynacirc). Calcium is necessary for muscle cells to contract. Felodipine prevents calcium from being released within the muscle cells of the small arteries and thereby causes the muscles to relax and the arteries to dilate or expand. Dilation of arteries reduces blood pressure. Felodipine has little or no effect on the muscles of veins or the heart. Felodipine was approved by the FDA in 1991.



PREPARATIONS: Tablets (extended Release): 2.5, 5, and10 mg

STORAGE: Tablets should be stored below 86 F (30 C) and should be protected from light and moisture.

PRESCRIBED FOR: Felodipine is used to treat high blood pressure. It may be used alone or in combination with other drugs. Felodipine also is used to treat patients with angina although it is not FDA approved for this use.

DOSING: The recommended dose of felodipine is 2.5-10 mg once daily. It should be taken without food or with no more than a light meal since food may reduce its absorption. Since felodipine comes as a sustained-release tablet, it should be swallowed whole. It should not be chewed or crushed.

DRUG INTERACTIONS: Cimetidine (Tagamet), ketoconazole (Nizoral, Extina, Xolegel, Kuric), itraconazole (Sporanox), and erythromycin can block the breakdown of felodipine, resulting in higher blood concentrations of felodipine and drops in blood pressure. Carbamazepine (Tegretol), phenobarbital, or phenytoin (Dilantin) can lower felodipine blood concentrations. Therefore, higher doses of felodipine may be necessary in patients receiving these medications.

Taking felodipine with grapefruit juice increases its absorption and may lead to sudden drops in blood pressure. Felodipine may increase blood concentrations of tacrolimus (Prograf). Tacrolimus blood concentrations should be monitored and the dose should be modified as necessary.

PREGNANCY: The effects of felodipine in pregnant women have not been adequately studied. Animal studies have shown adverse effects. Therefore, the physician must weigh the potential risks to the fetus against the potential benefits to the mother.

NURSING MOTHERS: It is not known if felodipine is excreted in breast milk.

SIDE EFFECTS: Peripheral edema (swollen ankles and feet), headache, flushing, dizziness, and increased heart rate, low blood pressure are the most common side effects of felodipine. Overgrowth of gums, rash, upper respiratory tract reactions, and fainting also may occur.

Reference: FDA Prescribing Information

Last Editorial Review: 2/24/2012

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