Amlodipine

Amlodipine lowers your blood pressure. This makes it easier for your heart to pump blood around your body.

This medicine is only available on prescription. It comes as tablets.

Brand names include:

  • Amlode
  • Amlotan
  • Istin

Uses of amlodipine

Amlodipine is used to:

  • treat high blood pressure
  • prevent angina (chest pain caused by heart disease)

Amlodipine does not provide immediate relief of chest pain from angina. It is a calcium channel blocker medication.

Get emergency help

You might need emergency help if you get serious side effects, take too much or have a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis).

If you take too much

An overdose of amlodipine can make you feel dizzy, lightheaded, faint or weak. Your skin may feel cool and clammy. You could pass out

If your blood pressure drops too low, you may go into shock. The amount of amlodipine that can lead to an overdose varies.

Immediate action required: Go to your nearest emergency department (ED) straight away or phone your GP if:

  • you take too much almodipine

Do not drive yourself to the ED. Get someone else to drive or call for an ambulance.

Take your remaining medication and any leaflets with you.

Serious allergic reaction

Urgent advice: See your GP immediately if you:

  • get a skin rash that may include itchy, red, swollen, blistered or peeling skin
  • are wheezing
  • get tightness in the chest or throat
  • have trouble breathing or talking
  • get swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat

Serious side effects

Urgent advice: See your GP straight away if you have:

  • severe pain in your tummy and back, and also feel very unwell
  • bloody diarrhoea
  • feeling sick or being sick
  • yellow skin or eyes
  • chest pain that is new or worse
  • sudden wheeziness, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.
  • an irregular heartbeat

Read more about side effects from amlodipine

Check if you can take amlodipine

Adults or children aged 6 or older can take amlodipine. But it is not suitable for some people.

Check with your GP or pharmacist if you:

  • have had an allergic reaction to any medicines in the past, including amlodipine
  • are allergic to any of the ingredients of amlodipine
  • are pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • are breastfeeding
  • have liver or kidney disease
  • have heart failure or have recently had a heart attack
  • have narrowing of the aortic heart valve (aortic stenosis)
  • have cardiogenic shock
  • have severe low blood pressure (hypotension)

Read the patient information leaflet that came with your medicine for a list of conditions to check with your GP.

Contraception and fertility

Amlodipine will not affect any contraception. It is unlikely to affect fertility in men or women.

Talk to your GP if you are taking combined hormonal contraceptives. These can raise your blood pressure and stop amlodipine working properly.

Talk to your fertility specialist if you have concerns about amlodipine and IVF. Calcium channel blockers such as amlodipine can affect sperm. 

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Usually, you will not be prescribed amlodipine if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Tell your GP if you are trying to get pregnant, are pregnant or if you are breastfeeding.

Talk to your GP about the benefits and possible harms of taking amlodipine. Other medicines might be safer. 

When you start taking amlodipine

Take amlodipine exactly as your GP has told you. Follow the directions on the label.

If you are not sure, check with your GP or pharmacist.

Take amlodipine even if you feel well. You will still get the benefits of the medicine.

Talk to your GP about changing medicine if you cannot take amlodipine or other calcium channel blockers because of side effects. 

How much to take

Your GP will work out the right dose for you by:

  • checking your blood pressure
  • asking about any side effects

Usually, you will start on a dose of 5mg once a day. Doses may be lower for children.

Your GP might need to increase your dose to 10mg if your blood pressure does not come down or your angina is not controlled.

How and when to take amlodipine

It’s usual to take amlodipine once a day.

You can take amlodipine at any time of day, but try to make sure it’s around the same time every day.

You can take amlodipine with or without food.

Do not take amlodipine with grapefruit or grapefruit juice as this can:

  • increase the amount of amlodipine in your body
  • worsen side effects

How long it takes to work

Amlodipine starts to work on the day you start taking it. It might take a couple of weeks for full effect.

You will still have bouts of chest pain if you have angina. You may even find the pain gets worse when you start taking amlodipine. Keep your medicine for treating angina attacks with you and use as needed.

You might not have any symptoms if you take amlodipine for high blood pressure. This means you may not be aware of any change when you take amlodipine. 

Keep taking the medicine. It will still work even if you do not see any difference.

How long you will need to take amlodipine

You will probably need to take amlodipine long-term, even for the rest of your life. 

Stopping amlodipine may cause your blood pressure to rise. This may increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.

Your GP may be able to prescribe you a different blood pressure-lowering medicine. medicine if you are concerned about side effects. 

Long-term use

Amlodipine is generally safe to take for a long time. It works best when you take it for a long time.

There is no evidence that amlodipine is addictive.

If you forget to take it

If you forget to take a tablet, skip the missed dose completely.

Take your next dose at the right time the next day.

Important

Never take 2 doses at the same time. Never take an extra dose to make up for a forgotten one.

Side effects

Amlodipine can cause side effects although not everyone gets them.

Talk to your GP or pharmacist if side effects bother you or last for more than a few days.

Common side effects include:

  • headache
  • dizziness
  • flushing
  • a pounding heartbeat
  • swollen ankles

Side effects often improve as your body gets used to the medicine.

Dizziness and amlodipine

Taking amlodipine may make you feel dizzy, sick, tired, or you may get a headache.

If this happens to you:

  • do not drive a car, ride a bike, or use tools or machinery 
  • stop what you are doing and sit or lie down until you feel better, if you feel dizzy
  • tell your GP about your dizziness - your doses of medicine may need to be changed

Amlodipine with other medicines

Tell your GP or pharmacist if you are taking or have recently taken any other medicines, herbal remedies, vitamins or supplements, including.

This includes:

  • ketoconazole and itraconazole (antifungal medicines)
  • ritonavir, indinavir, nelfinavir (medicines to treat HIV)
  • rifampicin, erythromycin, clarithromycin (antibiotics)
  • hypericum perforatum (St. John’s wort)
  • verapamil and diltiazem (heart medicines)
  • dantrolene (medicine for severe body temperature abnormalities)
  • tacrolimus, sirolimus, temsirolimus, and everolimus (medicines that alter your immune system)
  • simvastatin (cholesterol lowering medicine)
  • cyclosporine (an immunosuppressant)

Alcohol and amlodipine

Drinking alcohol can increase the effect of amlodipine. This means it will lower your blood pressure even more.

Stop drinking alcohol while you’re taking amlodipine if you:

  • feel sleepy
  • feel dizzy
  • get a headache 

St John's wort and amlodipine

Talk to your GP if you're thinking about taking St John's wort, a herbal medicine taken for depression. It is thought to interfere with the way amlodipine works.

Finding your patient information leaflet online

Your patient information leaflet (PIL) is the leaflet that comes in the package of your medicine. 

Information:

To find your PIL online, visit the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) website

  1. In the ‘Find a medicine’ search box, enter the brand name of your medicine. A list of matching medicines appears.
  2. To the right of your medicine, select ‘PIL’. A PDF of the PIL opens in a new window. 

You can also:

  1. Select the brand name of your medicine.
  2. Scroll down to the Documents section.
  3. From the Package Leaflet line, select PDF version. A PDF of the PIL opens in a new window. 

If your PIL is not on the HPRA website, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) website opens in a new window when you select ‘PIL’.

You can find your PIL on the EMA website.

Finding your PIL on the EMA website

If your PIL is not on the HPRA website, you will be sent to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) website.

To find your PIL on the EMA website:

  1. In the Medicines search box, enter the brand name of your medicine and the word ‘epar’. For example: ‘Zoely epar’. A list of matching medicines appears.
  2. Select the ‘Human medicine European public assessment report (EPAR)’ for your medicine
  3. From the table of contents, select Product information.
  4. Select the EPAR – Product Information link for your medicine. A PDF opens in a new window. The PIL information is in Annex III of the PDF under ‘labelling and package leaflet’

This content was fact checked by a pharmacist, a GP, the National Medication Safety Programme (Safermeds) and the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA).

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This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 123.

Page last reviewed: 24 September 2021
Next review due: 24 September 2024

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