Lercanidipine

Lercanidipine lowers your blood pressure and makes it easier for your heart to pump blood around your body.

You can only get it on prescription. It comes as tablets.

Brand names include Lecalpin and Zanidip.

Lercanidipine is a calcium channel blocker medicine.

Uses of lercanidipine

Lercanidipine is used to treat high blood pressure.

Your GP may also prescribe it to prevent:

  • heart disease
  • heart attacks
  • strokes

Get emergency help

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

If you take too much

An overdose of lercanidipine can cause dizziness, a fast or irregular heartbeat and sleepiness.

The amount of lercanidipine that can lead to an overdose varies. You will need to go to an emergency department (ED).

Immediate action required: Go to an ED straight away or phone your GP if you:

  • take too much lercanidipine

Do not drive yourself to the ED. Get someone else to drive or call 999 or 112 for an ambulance.

Take your remaining medication and any leaflets with you to the ED

Serious allergic reaction

A serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) from lercanidipine is rare. 

Immediate action required: Call 112 or 999 or go to your nearest ED if:

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

Serious side effects

Urgent advice: Phone your GP straight away if you:

  • have chest pain that is new or worse.
  • faint

Chest pain is a possible symptom of a heart attack.

Check if you can take lercanidipine

You can take lercanidipine if you are 18 or older. But lercanidipine is not suitable for some people.

Tell your GP before starting lercanidipine if you:

  • have had an allergic reaction to any medicine
  • are allergic to lercanidipine hydrochloride or any other ingredients in the medicine
  • are trying to get pregnant, pregnant, breastfeeding or if you are sexually active and not using any contraception
  • have liver or kidney disease
  • have heart disease or have had a recent heart attack

Contraception and fertility

Lercanidipine does not affect any type of 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 lercanidipine working properly.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Lercanidipine is not recommended if you are pregnant. It should not be used if you are breastfeeding.

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

How and when to take lercanidipine

Always take lercanidipine exactly as your GP has told you.

If you are unsure, check with your GP or pharmacist or read the label on your medicine.

It's best to take lercanidipine in the morning but you can take it at any time of day.

Try to make sure you take it at the same time every day.

Take lercanidipine on an empty stomach, at least 15 minutes before a meal. 

Fatty foods can increase the amount of lercanidipine your body takes in and make you more likely to have side effects.

Do not eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice while you are taking lercandipine

Grapefruit can:

  • increase the concentration of lercanidipine in your body
  • make side effects worse

Take lercanidipine even if you feel well. You'll still get the benefits of the medicine.

Tell your GP if you get severe vomiting or diarrhoea from a stomach bug or illness. You may need to stop taking lercanidipine until you feel better.

Dosage

Usually, your GP will start you on a dose of 10mg once a day.

They may increase your dose to 20mg if your blood pressure stays too high.

How long lercanidipine takes to work

Lercanidipine starts to work on the day you start taking it, but it may take a couple of weeks for full effect.

How long you need to take it

You will usually need to take lercanidipine long-term, even for the rest of your life, if you need blood pressure-lowering medicines.

Lercanidipine 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 lercanidipine is addictive.

Stopping taking lercanidipine

Talk to your GP if you want to stop taking lercanidipine.

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

Your GP might prescribe you a different blood pressure-lowering medicine if you are concerned about side effects. 

If you forget to take it

If you forget to take your tablet, leave out the missed dose and carry on as normal.

Do not take a double dose to make up for a forgotten one.

If you forget doses often, it may help to set an alarm to remind you.

You can also ask your pharmacist for advice so you can remember to take your medicine.

Side effects

Lercanidipine can cause side effects, but they are usually mild and short-lived. Not everyone gets them.

Side effects should go away after the first week. Tell your GP if they last longer or get worse.

The most common side effects of lercanidipine are:

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

Dizziness and lercanidipine

You might feel dizzy, weak or drowsy when you take lercanidipine or if you take other medicines, such as the blood pressure medicines ramipril or lisinopril.

If you feel dizzy, weak or drowsy:

  • 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
  • tell your GP as your doses of medicine may need to be changed

Lercanidipine and other medicines

Some medicines can interfere with the way lercanidipine works. Lercanidipine can also interfere with other medicines.

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

These medicines include: 

  • aminophylline or theophylline
  • antifungal medicines such as ketoconazole or itraconazole
  • macrolide antibiotics such as erythromycin, troleandomycin or clarithromycin
  • ciclosporin
  • cyclosporin
  • antivirals such as ritonavir
  • medicines for epilepsy such as phenytoin, phenobarbital (phenobarbitone) or carbamazepine
  • rifampicin
  • medicines for allergies such as astemizole or terfenadine
  • medicines to treat a fast heart beat such as amiodarone, quinidine or sotalol
  • midazolam
  • digoxin
  • beta blockers
  • cimetidine
  • simvastatin
  • medicines to treat high blood pressure 
  • medicines to treat HIV
  • primidone

Alcohol and lercanidipine

Do not drink alcohol while taking lercanidipine.

Drinking alcohol can increase the effect of lercanidipine. This means it will lower your blood pressure even more, making you sleepy, dizzy or bringing on a headache.

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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