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Felodipine is a type of medication used to treat high blood pressure. It also works to manage angina and reduces your risk of a future heart attack or stroke.
Felodipine is a calcium channel blocker which relaxes the muscles of the heart and the blood vessels. This in turn allows the blood to flow more freely around the body, lowering the blood pressure.
Felodipine will start to work on the first day when you begin treatment. It can take a few weeks for the medication to have its full effect on your blood pressure however. It's likely that you won't feel different while taking Felodipine. This is because high blood pressure doesn't usually produce symptoms so you should continue taking the medication even if you don't notice a difference. For angina, Felodipine will take a few weeks to start working and you can expect chest pains to decrease after this.
Felodipine is the active ingredient in the medication.
The inactive ingredients are: microcrystalline cellulose, hypromellose, lactose monohydrate, povidone K25, propylene glycol, propyl gallate (Ph.Eur.), magnesium stearate (Ph.Eur.), colloidal anhydrous silica, talcum, iron oxide red (E172), iron oxide yellow (E172), titanium dioxide (E171).
Please Note: Inactive ingredients may vary between different brands of generic Felodipine.
Always follow the instructions given by your doctor on how to take Felodipine. The medicine should be taken once a day in the morning, preferably on an empty stomach or after a light meal. The tablets should always be swallowed whole with a glass of water.
The dose of Felodipine prescribed will depend on your condition, symptoms and medical history. 5mg once a day is the usual starting dose which can be increased up to 10mg if necessary. Elderly patients may be issued with a 2.5mg dose.
Felodipine should not be crushed or split before taking it. The tablets should be taken whole otherwise you may not get the full effect of the medicine.
Common side effects you may experience when you first start Felodipine include:
Rare side effects may include:
Felodipine can also cause swelling in the gums. This can be managed by maintaining good oral health.
Felodipine should not be taken if:
You should inform your doctor if you have problems with your liver before taking Felodipine.
The following medicines may interact with Felodipine and cause it to not work properly:
Always inform your doctor of any existing medications you are taking, including over the counter or herbal remedies.
if you experience headaches then drink plenty of water, make sure you're getting enough rest and take a painkiller like paracetamol. If these last longer than a week then alert your doctor. Take it easy if you get dizzy spells, sit or lie down until they pass and avoid driving or any other potentially dangerous activities until you feel better. Avoiding alcohol, tea and coffee will help with facial flushing and lying down with your legs raised will soothe swollen ankles.
Grapefruit juice should be avoided while you are taking Felodipine as it interacts with the medicine, stopping it from working properly. It's fine to drink alcohol but it can cause your blood pressure to lower too much in combination with Felodipine. If you experience dizziness you may need to avoid alcohol.
Felodipine is not usually suitable to take during pregnancy. If you fall pregnant during your treatment, inform your doctor as soon as possible.
Avoid driving until you are sure of how Felodipine affects you. You may experience dizziness at first but this will usually disappear within the first few weeks of taking the medication.
Other types of calcium blockers include Amlodipine, Diltiazem, Isradipine, Nicardipine, Nifedipine, Nisoldipine and Verapamil.
There are three different types of calcium channel blockers. Felodipine belongs to the dihydropyridine group. These types of medicines mainly have an effect on the blood vessels themselves to relax them and allow blood to flow easier. Phenylalkylamines affect the heart so that it doesn't have to work as hard and Benzothiazepines target both the heart and arteries. How well each one will work depends entirely on your condition, symptoms and what is suitable for you.
Felodipine is a calcium blocker which treats high blood pressure. There are other types of high blood pressure medication available such as ACE inhibitors or angiotensin-2 receptor blockers (ARB). If you're under the age of 55 it's likely you will be prescribed with one of these. Calcium blockers will be more suitable for patients of an African or Caribbean origin or if you're over 55. Beta blockers and diuretics are also available if other treatments haven't worked.
There are several lifestyle changes you can make to contribute to a healthier heart and overall blood pressure. Quitting smoking and cutting down on alcohol and salt will make a positive difference as will eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Managing stress is also important as stress can often cause your heart to beat faster, leading to a spike in your blood pressure.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is key to reducing your blood pressure to a healthy level. Eating a healthy diet that's low in salt and saturated fats, exercising regularly, stopping smoking, cutting down on alcohol and good stress management are all positive steps to take.
It's likely that you will need to take Felodipine for the rest of your life in order to manage your blood pressure. However, your doctor may reduce your dose once your blood pressure is at a stable level.
Felodipine hasn't been shown to help with anxiety. Other types of high blood pressure medication such as beta blockers can help to soothe the physical symptoms of anxiety.
Felodipine is designed for long term use so it's safe to use in this manner.
Felodipine is not addictive.
There is no evidence to suggest that Felodipine has an effect on your fertility. If this is something that worries you then speak to your doctor before taking the medication.
Felodipine won't have an affect on your contraception. However, the combined pill is not suitable for women with high blood pressure so it's recommended to ask your doctor for advice about alternative forms of contraception.
Some types of blood pressure medication can cause hair loss but Felodipine does not.
Swollen ankles, known as oedema, is a common side effect in taking Felodipine. This is because the medication can cause increased pressure on the capillaries which leads to leaking fluid. If you experience this while taking Felodipine, lying down with your legs up against the wall can help ease the swelling. If it becomes a problem then see your doctor for advice.