Felodipine

Brand names of felodipine

  • Lexxel [CD]
  • Logimax [CD]
  • Plendil
  • Renedil

Felodipine is a calcium channel blocker (CCB) belonging to the class of drugs known as dihydropyridine (DHP) and it is taken orally for treating high blood pressure (hypertension). Other medications belonging to the DHP class include amlodipine (Norvasc), nifedipine (Adalat, Procardia), nicardipine (Cardene), nisoldipine (Sular) and isradipine (Dynacirc). Calcium is an essential mineral needed for the contraction of muscle cells. Felodipine puts off the release of calcium inside the small arteries' muscle cells and, in this way, results in the relaxation or unwinding of the muscles as well as to dilate or expand the arteries. When the arteries are dilated, it lowers high blood pressure. However, this medication has very insignificant or no consequence on the heart or veins' muscles. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the sale and use of felodipine in 1991.

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Things you need to tell your physician before taking felodipine

Prior to starting treatment with felodipine, it is important to inform your physician or pharmacist whether you have allergic reactions to this medication, any of its ingredients or have any additional allergy problem. This medication is likely to have a number of inactive elements that may result in allergies or additional problems. Therefore, it is advisable that you ask your pharmacist for further information in this regard.

Before you use felodipine, also tell your physician or pharmacist about your entire medical history, particularly if you have or ever had any heart ailment, (for instance, congestive heart failure), edema (swelling of the limbs) and/ or any liver disease. In case you require undergoing a surgery, including a dental operation, tell your surgeon/ dentist beforehand that you are already taking felodipine.

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Use of felodipine may possibly make you feel dizzy. Therefore, it is advisable that while undergoing treatment with this medication you should not undertake any task that requires attentiveness, for instance, driving or using machinery, till you are certain about the effects of the medication on your body and also till the time when you are confident that you can carry out the task safely. At the same time, you need to restrict you consumption of alcoholic beverages. Moreover, in order to diminish the side effects of this medication like giddiness and nausea, you should arise slowly from a lying or seated position.

Elderly people using felodipine should exercise additional caution, as they are likely to be more vulnerable to the medication's side effects, particularly dizziness. Pregnant women should only use this medication when it is absolutely necessary for their condition. It is advisable that such women should talk to their physician regarding the potential risks as well as the benefits of felodipine during pregnancy. While it is yet to be ascertained whether this medication passes onto the breast milk, new mothers are advised to consult their physician prior to breast feeding.

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Usage

The calcium channel blocker (CCB) felodipine is employed in the treatment of hypertension (high blood pressure). When high blood pressure is lowered, it assists in avoiding heart attacks, strokes and problems related to the kidneys. Felodipine works by obstructing the release of calcium in the muscle cells of the small arteries resulting in the unwinding as well as dilation of the blood vessels making blood circulation easier.

Occasionally, felodipine is also used in the treatment of Raynaud's syndrome as well as congestive heart failure. It is advisable that you talk to your physician regarding the potential risks of using this medication for the condition you are suffering from.

How to use felodipine

Felodipine should be taken orally, gulped down as a whole, normally once every day on an empty stomach, or according to the instructions of your physician. In case you have a stomach upset following the use of this medication, you may take it with a light snack. The dosage of felodipine is subject to the medical condition of the patient as well as his/ her response to the treatment. Never chew, crush or break the felodipine tablets, as doing so may wipe out the prolonged action of the medicament, while augmenting its side effects. If you desire to get the maximum benefits of using felodipine, you should take it on a regular basis. It is also advisable that you take this medication at the same time every day, as it will help you to remember that you have to take felodipine. You should essentially continue to take this medication for the full regimen even if you start feeling better after a few weeks of treatment with this drug.

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It is important to note that majority of the hypertension (high blood pressure) patients usually do not have a sickly feeling. Remember that taking felodipine only after a chest pain has started is not useful. On the contrary, you should take this medicament daily according to the prescription of your physician to prevent the occurrence of chest pains. Unless instructed otherwise, people taking this medication should keep away from consuming grapefruit or drinking the juice of grapefruit. Combining grapefruit with the usage of this medication may augment the quantity of the medication in your bloodstream resulting in a number of problems. Therefore, it is advisable that you talk to your physician or pharmacist for additional information regarding this. Never discontinue taking felodipine all of a sudden or without the consent of your physician. If you stop taking this medication suddenly, there is a possibility that some conditions may deteriorate. The dosage of the medication should be decreased gradually before you stop taking felodipine.

In case you miss a dose of felodipine, take it immediately when you remember. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and carry on with your usual dosing program. Never take a double dose to compensate for the missed dose, as it will not help your condition to improve faster, but may worsen the side effects.

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How felodipine works

Felodipine blocks the movement of calcium into the cells of the heart muscles as well as the cells of the smooth muscles in the arterial walls. The action of this medication helps the blood vessels to widen/ dilate and this, in turn, reduces the blood pressure, lessens the general burden of the heart and augments the blood flow to the heart.

Side effects

Serious:
Common:
Less common:

Possible interactions

Herbal medicines or minerals:
Specific herbal remedies or minerals may interact with felodipine and, hence, they should never be used in conjunction. For instance, ginseng is likely to raise the blood pressure, diminishing the benefits offered by calcium channel blockers. In addition, other herbs like licorice, yohimbe, goldenseal, hawthorn, ma huang and saw palmetto may also increase the blood pressure significantly. Although Indian snakeroot possesses a German Commission E monograph indication for treating high blood pressure, you should consult your physician before using this herb. People undergoing treatment with felodipine for hypertension should keep away from ma huang and Siberian ginseng root.
Foods:
People undergoing treatment with felodipine for hypertension should never consume grapefruit no less than an hour prior to or after taking this medication. In addition, they should also keep away from consuming too much salt.
Beverages:
Drinking grapefruit juice may result in severe rise in assimilation of felodipine. In effect, the level of this medication in the body may go up by more than 400 per cent. Hence, it is advisable that people taking felodipine should avoid grapefruit juice. However, this medication may be taken safely with water or milk.
Alcohol:
People taking felodipine should exercise caution while consuming alcoholic beverages, because alcohol may inflate the decline in the blood pressure endured by a number of people.
Tobacco smoking:
Smoking is strictly prohibited while taking felodipine as nicotine has the aptitude to diminish the efficacy of this medication.
Exposure to heat:
The effects of felodipine may be inflated when people undergoing treatment with this medication are exposed to hot surroundings. When in a hot environment, watch if you are feeling weak or dizzy.

Discontinuation

You should never stop taking felodipine all of a sudden. Prior to discontinuing this medication, talk to your physician regarding its gradual withdrawal. Also, keep an eye on the progress of rebound hypertension.

Storage instructions

Felodipine should always be stored in the container in which it was purchased. Seal the container firmly and keep it in a place that is beyond the reach of children. Store this medication at room temperature and in a place that is free from too much heat and dampness. Never store felodipine in your bathroom, which is always humid. Discard all medications that have become outdated or are needed no longer in a proper and safe manner. If necessary, consult your pharmacist regarding the proper and safe disposal of all such products.

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