1 What is Norvasc?

Brand: Norvasc

Generic: Amlodipine

Norvasc is a calcium channel blocker. It relaxes peripheral and coronary vascular smooth muscle.

It produces coronary vasodilation by inhibiting the entry of calcium ions into the slow channels or select voltage-sensitive channels of the vascular smooth muscle and myocardium during depolarization. It also increases myocardial oxygen delivery in patients with vasospastic angina.

This drug is widely used by the healthcare professional to treat a variety of health disorders like mild to moderate hypertension, chronic stable and vasospastic angina, coronary artery disease, hypertension, and Raynaud’s disease etc. This medicine is used alone or in combination with other medicines to relieve chest pain and hypertension.

Amlodipine has complete but slow oral absorption. It reaches a peak after 6-9 hours. The early vasodilator side effects (palpitation, flushing, headache, postural dizziness) are largely avoided.

Because of less extensive and less variable first pass metabolism, its oral bioavailability is higher and more consistent. The volume of distribution and plasma half-life are exceptionally long. Diurnal fluctuation in blood level is small and action extends over the next morning.

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2 What to Know Before Using

Before using Norvasc, you must know all about the risks and complications associated with it. This is a decision that your doctor will make with your active participation. There are some important factors such as drug interaction, metabolic impairment, hypersensitivity reaction, pregnancy, lactation etc. which may alter the drug action.

Sometimes the presence of other health disorders affects the beneficial effects of this medicine and even may cause serious complications.

Make sure you mention your doctor if you have any other medical problems. The use of amlodipine is contraindicated if there is a history of hypersensitivity reactions to amlodipine or other calcium channel blocker.

This medicine should not be used in patients with severe hypertension. It is recommended to use amlodipine with great care when this drug is prescribed in patients with impaired liver and renal function, congestive heart failure (CHF), sick-sinus syndrome, severe ventricular dysfunction, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and severe aortic stenosis.

Certain drugs should not be used concurrently with such medications. Plasma concentrations may be elevated with azole antifungals and ritonavir. Concomitant therapy with simvastatin may increase the risk of myopathy including rhabdomyolysis.

This drug is also responsible for increased plasma levels of cyclosporine and conivaptan. Thus, it is always recommended to consult with your doctor if you are in need of some drugs for another health problem in order to avoid unwanted serious complications.

3 Proper Usage

To use Norvasc properly, you must follow all instructions given by your doctor. The dose of this medicine will vary according to patient’s condition or requirements.

You should follow the doctor's directions and advice. The amount of medicine that you take should not exceed the maximum therapeutic dose. Also, the frequency of your daily drug administration and the duration of drug therapy depend on the particular medical problem for which you are taking the medicine.

In order to treat stable angina, hypertension, and Prinzmetal’s angina an adult should take 5 mg once daily at the initial stage. If the desired therapeutic effect cannot be achieved within 2-4 weeks, the dose may be increased to a maximum dose of 10 mg once daily.

Children of more than 12 years and older patients are prescribed to take 2.5 mg once daily, that dose may increase to 5 mg once daily if necessary.

Always try to take your medicine in time. If you miss any dose of this medicine, you should take it as soon as possible. But if it is time for your next dose, then you should skip the missed dose and go back to your regular treatment schedule.

You should store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature away from heat, moisture, and direct light. All kinds of medicines should be kept out of the reach of children. Outdated medicine must be disposed of by an appropriate way.

4 Precautions to Take

Before using Norvasc, there are some precautions you must take. Regular visits are recommended to make sure this medicine is working properly or not while you are receiving a drug therapy.

Some important measures should be taken if you feel any discomfort following this drug therapy. Although amlodipine is excreted primarily via kidney, mild renal impairment does not appear to have an effect on the plasma concentrations.

Severe renal impairment may, however, require a dosage reduction. Amlodipine is not dialyzable and its half-life is prolonged in patients with impaired hepatic function. It should, therefore, be administered at lower (5mg) initial dose in these patients.

An increased number of pulmonary edema has been reported in those who received amlodipine in heart failure.

5 Potential Side Effects

As with many medications, there are several potential side effects associated with Norvasc. Nausea, headache, dizziness, abdominal pain, somnolence, flushing, dyspepsia, fatigue, peripheral edema, palpitations etc. are the common adverse effects.

In addition, some other adverse effects like pruritus, rash, asthenia, and muscle cramps may occur but rarely. These side-effects usually go away during the treatment episode as your body adjusts to the medicine. Your healthcare professional may advise you about the ways how to prevent or reduce those unwanted side-effects.

Sometimes you may need to consult with the doctor if you feel any serious toxic effect. Potentially fatal conditions like hypotension, conductive system delay, and CCF may occur which warrant immediate medical help.

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