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- What is nifedipine?
- Is nifedipine available as a generic drug?
- Do I need a prescription for nifedipine?
- Why is nifedipine prescribed to patients?
- What are the side effects of nifedipine?
- What is the dosage for nifedipine?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with nifedipine?
- Is nifedipine safe to use during pregnancy or while breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about nifedipine?
What is nifedipine?
Quick GuideHow to Lower Blood Pressure: Exercise Tips
Why is nifedipine prescribed to patients?
Nifedipine is used for the treatment and prevention of angina resulting from either an increased workload on the heart (as with exercise) or spasm of the coronary arteries. It is used in the treatment of high blood pressure, to treat abnormally fast heart rhythms such as atrial fibrillation, and in the prevention of episodes of rapid heart rhythm originating from the atria of the heart.
It also is used to dilate blood vessels that go into spasm such as those causing Raynaud's phenomenon, a painful condition of the hands caused by spasm of the arteries supplying blood to the hands.
Non-FDA approved uses include:
What are the side effects of nifedipine?
Side effects of nifedipine are generally mild, and reversible. Most side effects are expected consequences of the dilation of the arteries. The most common side effects include:
Less common side effects include:
Uncommon side effects include:
What is the dosage for nifedipine?
- The usual dose for nifedipine capsules for treating angina is 10 to 20 mg three times daily. Up to 20 to 30 mg every 6-8 hours daily may be required. The dose should not exceed 180 mg daily. For extended release tablets, the usual dose is 30 or 60 mg once daily. The maximum dose is 120 mg daily.
- Hypertension is treated with 30-60 mg daily using extended release tablets. The maximum dose is 90 mg/day (Adalat CC) or 120 mg/day (Procardia XL).
- Nifedipine can be taken with or without food.
- The tablets and capsules should be swallowed whole and not bitten or cut in half.
Which drugs or supplements interact with nifedipine?
In rare instances, congestive heart failure has been associated with nifedipine, usually in patients already on a beta blocker, for example, propranolol (Inderal), metoprolol (Lopressor), etc. Excessive lowering of blood pressure (hypotension) during initiation of nifedipine treatment can occur, especially in patients already taking another blood pressure lowering drug.
Generally, nifedipine is avoided in children.
Nifedipine decreases the elimination of digoxin (Lanoxin) by the kidneys which can increase digoxin blood levels in the blood and give rise to digoxin toxicity. It is important, therefore, to monitor blood levels of digoxin in order to avoid toxicity.
Nifedipine reduces the blood levels of quinidine (Quinaglute, Quinidex, Quinora) which may reduce the effectiveness of quinidine. Conversely, blood levels of nifedipine are increased by quinidine and may lead to side effects from nifedipine.
Cimetidine (Tagamet) interferes with breakdown by the liver of nifedipine and increases nifedipine blood levels. Therefore, cautious dosing is necessary when both medications are administered concurrently.
Nifedipine should not be taken with grapefruit juice since grapefruit juice (one glass, approximately 200 ml) inhibits the breakdown of nifedipine by the liver and increases the levels of nifedipine in the blood.
Is nifedipine safe to use during pregnancy or while breastfeeding?
There are no adequate studies of nifedipine in pregnant women, and in general, it is avoided during pregnancy.
Nifedipine is excreted in human breast milk. Generally, nifedipine is avoided in females who are nursing.
What else should I know about nifedipine?
What preparations of nifedipine are available?
Capsules: 10 and 20 mg. Tablets: 30, 60, and 90 mg
How should I keep nifedipine stored?
Tablets should be stored at room temperature 15 C to 25 C (59 F to 77 F). They should be protected from light, moisture, and humidity.
How does nifedipine work?
Other drugs in the same class as nifedipine include:
- amlodipine (Norvasc),
- diltiazem (Cardizem LA, Tiazac),
- felodipine (Plendil),
- isradipine (Dynacirc),
- nicardipine (Cardene),
- nimodipine (Nimotop), and
- verapamil (Covera-HS, Veralan PM, Calan).
Like other CCBs, nifedipine works by blocking the flow of calcium into the muscle cells surrounding the arteries that supply blood to the heart (coronary arteries) as well as other arteries of the body. Since the inflow of calcium is what causes the muscle cells to contract, blocking the entry of calcium relaxes the muscles and dilates (widens) the arteries. By dilating coronary arteries, nifedipine increases the flow of blood to the heart. This treats and prevents angina which occurs when the flow of blood to the heart is not adequate to supply the heart with enough oxygen necessary to pump blood. Relaxing the muscles surrounding other arteries of the body lowers blood pressure and thereby reduces the pressure against which the heart must pump blood and function. This reduces the demand of the heart for oxygen--another mechanism by which CCBs treat and prevent angina. In addition, nifedipine slows conduction of the electrical current that travels through the heart that causes the muscle of the heart to contract. This effect can be used to correct abnormally rapid heartbeats.
When was nifedipine approved by the FDA?
The FDA approved nifedipine in December 1981.
Reference: FDA Prescribing Information
Quick GuideHow to Lower Blood Pressure: Exercise Tips
Nifedipine (Adalat, Procardia, Afeditab, Nifediac) is in the drug class of calcium channel blockers (CCBs). Nifedipine (Adalat, Procardia, Afeditab, Nifediac) is prescribed for the treatment of angina, high blood pressure, and abnormal heart rhythms such as atrial fibrillation. Off label uses of nifedipine (Adalat, Procardia, Afeditab, Nifediac) Raynaud's phenomenon, anal fissures, and prevention of migraine headaches. Side effects, warnings and precautions, drug interactions, and safety during pregnancy information should be reviewed prior to taking this medication.
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
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Treatment & Diagnosis
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Medications & Supplements
- High Blood Pressure Drugs (Hypertension)
- Calcium Channel Blockers (CCBs)
- Drugs: What You Should Know About Your Drugs
- amlodipine, Norvasc
- Drug Interactions
- diltiazem (Cardizem, Cardizem CD, Cardizem LA, Tiazac, Cartia XT, Diltzac, Dilt-CD, and several oth)
- felodipine (Plendil)
- nimodipine - oral, Nymalize
- verapamil (Calan, Verelan, Verelan PM [Discontinued: Isoptin, Isoptin SR, Covera-HS])
- nicardipine, Cardene, Cardene SR
- isradipine - oral, Dynacirc
- bepridil (Vascor, Bepadin - Discontinued)
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You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Top nifedipine Related ArticlesComplete List
AchalasiaEsophageal achalasia is a disease of the esophagus that mainly affects young adults. Achalasia makes it difficult to swallow, can cause chest pain, and may lead to regurgitation. Here we discuss achalasia symptoms, surgery, treatment, and causes. Learn the definition of achalasia and what you can do to treat the disease.
Anal FissureAn anal fissure is a small tear or cut in the skin lining of the anus. Pain and/or rectal bleeding during bowel movements are common symptoms of anal fissures. Treatment involves:
- increasing liquid intake,
- using stool softeners,
- prescription medications, and
Angina SymptomsAngina is chest pain due to inadequate blood supply to the heart. Angina symptoms may include chest tightness, burning, squeezing, and aching. Coronary artery disease is the main cause of angina but there are other causes. Angina is diagnosed by taking the patient's medical history and performing tests such as an electrocardiogram (EKG), blood test, stress test, echocardiogram, cardiac CT scan, and heart catheterization. Treatment of angina usually includes lifestyle modification, medication, and sometimes, surgery. The risk of angina can be reduced by following a heart healthy lifestyle.
Migraine TriggersPainful headaches can ruin your productivity and quality of life. But what triggers headaches and migraines? Learn some surprising causes of headaches and migraines plus how to find relief.
Heart Detail PictureThe heart is composed of specialized cardiac muscle, and it is four-chambered, with a right atrium and ventricle, and an anatomically separate left atrium and ventricle. See a picture of Heart Detail and learn more about the health topic.
Heart SymptomsHeart attacks symptoms vary greatly for men and women, from anxiety and fatigue to nausea and sweating. Learn the warning signs of a heart attack and know the symptoms that may require an immediate trip to the hospital.
High Blood Pressure Hypertension
High blood pressure (hypertension) is a disease in which pressure within the arteries of the body is elevated. About 75 million people in the US have hypertension (1 in 3 adults), and only half of them are able to manage it. Many people do not know that they have high blood pressure because it often has no has no warning signs or symptoms.
Systolic and diastolic are the two readings in which blood pressure is measured. The American College of Cardiology released new guidelines for high blood pressure in 2017. The guidelines now state that blood normal blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg. If either one of those numbers is higher, you have high blood pressure.
The American Academy of Cardiology defines high blood pressure slightly differently. The AAC considers 130/80 mm Hg. or greater (either number) stage 1 hypertension. Stage 2 hypertension is considered 140/90 mm Hg. or greater.
If you have high blood pressure you are at risk of developing life threatening diseases like stroke and heart attack.
REFERENCE: CDC. High Blood Pressure. Updated: Nov 13, 2017.
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Kidney StonesKidney stones are solid masses of crystalline material that form in the kidneys. Symptoms of kidney stones can include pain, nausea, vomiting, and even fever and chills. Kidney stones are diagnosed via CT scans and specialized X-rays. Treatment of kidney stones involves drinking lots of fluids and taking over-the-counter pain medications to medical intervention including prescription medications, lithotripsy, and sometimes even surgery.
Migraine headaches are severe headaches that are sensitive to light, sounds, and smells. Some people who suffer from migraines also have severe head pain. People also have symptoms of nausea and vomiting. Common migraine triggers may include:
- Certain foods
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They are diagnosed by a doctor if the headache pattern fits established migraine headache criteria. Over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications are sometime used to treat acute migraines. To prevent or reduce the frequency and severity of them doctors recommend supplements and prescription medications, for example:
- Blood pressure drugs
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Lifestyle modification helps in migraine management. Many people who suffer from migraines get relief from their condition by keeping a headache diary, identifying and avoiding triggers, and taking appropriate medication.
Migraines SlideshowWhat does a migraine feel like? Discover the difference between headaches and migraines. Learn to spot migraine symptoms early, how to identify your triggers, and get more information on migraine medications and treatments.
Non-Drug Migraine HelpLearn about 14 non-drug treatments for migraines. Acupuncture, biofeedback and massage therapy are among this list of non-drug migraine treatments that may help ease pain.
ParathyroidectomyParathyroidectomy is the removal of one or more of the parathyroid glands to treat hyperparathyroidism. Risks of parathyroidectomy include:
- paralysis of the vocal cords,
- difficulty swallowing thin liquids,
- difficulty breathing,
- and drug reactions.
- damage to the recurrent laryngeal nerve,
- bleeding or hematoma,
- problems maintaining calcium levels in the blood,
- need for further and more aggressive surgery,
- need for a limited or total thyroidectomy,
- prolonged pain,
- impaired healing,
- and recurrence of the tumor.
Raynaud's PhenomenonRaynaud's phenomenon is characterized by a pale-blue-red sequence of color changes of the digits, most commonly after exposure to cold. Occurring as a result of spasm of blood vessels, the cause is unknown. Symptoms of Raynaud's phenomenon depend on the severity, frequency, and duration of the blood vessel spasm. Treatments include protection of the digits, medications, and avoiding emotional stresses, smoking, cold temperature, and tools that vibrate the hands.
SclerodermaScleroderma is an autoimmune disease of the connective tissue. It is characterized by the formation of scar tissue (fibrosis) in the skin and organs of the body, leading to thickness and firmness of involved areas. Scleroderma is also referred to as systemic sclerosis, and the cause is unknown. Treatment of scleroderma is directed toward the individual features that are most troubling to the patient.