nicardipine, Cardene, Cardene SR

  • 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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GENERIC NAME: nicardipine

BRAND NAME: Cardene, Cardene SR

DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Nicardipine belongs to a class of blood pressure reducing medications called calcium channel blockers (CCBs). Other medications in this class include diltiazem (Cardizem), amlodipine (Norvasc), felodipine (Plendil), verapamil (Calan, Isoptin), clevidipine (Cleviprex), and nifedipine (Adalat, Procardia). These medications block the movement of calcium into the smooth muscle cells surrounding the arteries of the body. Since calcium promotes contraction of muscle, blocking calcium entry into the muscle cells relaxes the arterial muscles and causes the arteries to become larger. This lowers blood pressure, which reduces the work that the heart must do to pump blood to the body. Reducing the work of the heart lessens the heart muscle's demand for oxygen and thereby helps prevent angina (heart pain) in patients with coronary artery disease. Unlike verapamil or diltiazem, nicardipine has little effect on heart muscle or on electrical conduction within the heart. The FDA approved nicardipine in December 1988.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/28/2015

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