Lercanidipine is a type of medicine known as a calcium channel blocker. It is used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) and reduce the risk of heart disease, heart attacks and strokes.
High blood pressure causes the heart and blood vessels to work too hard to pump blood around the body, which can lead to damaged blood vessels in the brain, heart and kidneys, heart failure, stroke or kidney failure. Lercanidipine works by blocking the narrowing effect of calcium on blood vessels, causing them to relax and allowing blood to flow more easily.
Lercanidipine starts to work immediately, but it takes a couple of weeks for it to take full effect.
The active ingredient in lercanidipine is lercanidipine hydrochloride.
The inactive ingredients in lercanidipine are magnesium stearate, povidone, sodium starch glycolate (Type A), lactose monohydrate, microcrystalline cellulose, macrogol, polyvinyl alcohol (partly hydrolysed), talc, titanium dioxide (E171) and yellow iron oxide (E172). The 20 mg tablets also include red iron oxide (E172).
Please Note: Different generic brands of lercanidipine could contain different inactive ingredients.
Lercanidipine should be taken once daily, preferably in the morning at least 15 minutes before food. Tablets should be swallowed whole with a small glass of water. The tablet can be split in half along the score line if you have difficulty swallowing it whole. You should not consume grapefruit juice while using this medication.
If you forget to take a dose of lercanidipine, try and take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is nearly time for your next dose, just skip the missed dose and take the next one at the normal time. Never take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
Lercanidipine is available in 10 mg and 20 mg tablets. Your doctor will decide your dosage depending on your blood pressure level. The recommended dose is 10 mg taken once daily, although your doctor may increase the dose to 20 mg if needed.
Like all medications, lercanidipine can cause side effects in some people. The following side effects may affect up to 1 in 100 people:
Rarely (1 in 1,000 people) the following side effects are experienced:
The following side effects are very rare, and only occur in up to 1 in 10,000 patients:
Do NOT take lercanidipine if you:
Before taking lercanidipine, speak to a doctor if any of the following applies to you:
Before taking lercanidipine, tell your doctor if you are taking any other medicines, including those purchased over the counter without a prescription.
In particular, tell your doctor if you are taking any of the following:
Most people who take lercanidipine do not have any trouble with side effects. However, around 1 in 100 patients may experience dizziness or headaches. If you feel dizzy, find somewhere safe to lie down until the feeling passes. If dizziness persists, try cutting down on alcohol and caffeine, as these can make symptoms worse. Headaches can be managed by drinking plenty of fluids and taking painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen where necessary. If headaches are severe or persist for longer than a week, speak to your doctor for advice.
Do not take this medication if you are pregnant or wish to become pregnant. Speak to your doctor for advice on alternative high blood medications.
There are a few different varieties of calcium channel blockers, and your doctor will help you decide which is best for you. Other calcium channel blockers include amlodipine, nifedipine, felodipine and lacidipine, diltiazem and verapamil which may also be used for the treatment of high blood pressure.
Alternative treatments include angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors such as ramipril, lisinopril, perindopril and enalapril which work by blocking a different substance in the body which also causes blood vessels to constrict. ACE inhibitors may be less effective in patients over the age of 55, or of Afro-Caribbean descent. A similar function is carried out by angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) such as losartan, irbesartan, candesartan and valsartan. Diuretics, sometimes taken in combination with other anti-hypertensives, also help to reduce blood pressure by altering the fluid balance. Alternatively, beta-blockers reduce blood pressure as well as slowing your heart rate. High blood pressure medications should only be taken following a consultation with a doctor, who will be able to decide which is most suitable for you.
Alongside medications, there are a few important lifestyle changes you can make to help reduce your blood pressure. Try and limit your salt intake to the recommended maximum of 6 g per day, while cutting back on fatty foods and including plenty of fruit and vegetables, whole grains and lean meats in your diet. Reduce the amount of alcohol you drink to below the recommended limit of 14 units per week, and if you haven’t already done so, stop smoking. Exercising regularly helps to keep your heart and blood vessels in good condition and also reduces stress. Stress is another cause of rising blood pressure, so try and avoid it by spending time with friends and family, going for daily walks and finding the time to relax where possible.
Alcohol can increase the blood pressure-lowering effect of lercanidipine and cause you to feel dizzy or give you headaches. If you experience dizziness or headaches while taking this medication, it is best to refrain from drinking alcohol.
Lercanidipine is an effective treatment for high blood pressure and works best when taken over a long period of time. However, if you stop taking this medication, your blood pressure is likely to rise again. If you are taking high blood pressure medications, you will most likely need to take them for the rest of your life.
There is no evidence to suggest that lercanidipine affects fertility in men or women. If you are planning on getting pregnant while taking this medication, speak to your doctor for advice.
Lercanidipine will not affect any type of contraception. However, some hormonal contraceptives such as the combined oral contraceptive pill and the contraceptive patch are not recommended for women with high blood pressure. Your doctor will be able to recommend a type of contraceptive that is best for you.
Eating a high-fat meal significantly increases your blood levels of this medicine. It is, therefore, best to take your tablet at least 15 minutes before breakfast and try to make sure your breakfast is low in fat content.
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