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If you have any medical questions or concerns, please talk to your healthcare provider. The articles on Health Guide are underpinned by peer-reviewed research and information drawn from medical societies and governmental agencies. However, they are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
Amlodipine (brand name Norvasc) is a medicine prescribed to help lower blood pressure, also known as an antihypertensive drug. It belongs to a class of medications known as calcium channel blockers (CCB). These medications allow the muscles around your arteries to relax, thereby opening the blood vessels, lowering blood pressure, and easing the heart’s workload (Bulsara, 2020).
Depending on your condition, your healthcare provider may prescribe a different amlodipine dosage. We’ll go over what dosages to expect, along with the potential side effects of amlodipine.
What is amlodipine used for?
Amlodipine is FDA-approved to treat the following conditions (DailyMed, 2008):
- High blood pressure (hypertension)—If left untreated, high blood pressure can increase your risk of heart attacks (myocardial infarctions) and strokes, among other problems.
- Chronic stable chest pain (angina)—Chest pain is a common sign of coronary artery disease.
- Vasospastic angina (Prinzmetal’s angina)—This is another form of chest pain. It can be caused by spasms in the coronary arteries that decrease blood flow.
- Coronary artery disease (CAD)—If you have had heart disease confirmed by a procedure (angiography), amlodipine may lower your risk of needing future hospitalizations or heart procedures.
Amlodipine dosage for different conditions
Amlodipine besylate and brand name Norvasc are available as 2.5 mg, 5 mg, and 10 mg tablets. Amlodipine is also available in a liquid. The maximum dose of amlodipine besylate is 10 mg per day.
If you’re taking amlodipine to lower blood pressure, the usual starting dose is 5 mg once daily. Elderly patients and children between the ages of 6–17 may start on 2.5 mg daily. People with liver impairment or reduced liver function may also start with this lower dose (Bulsara, 2020).
Similarly, when it comes to treating chronic stable angina (chest pain) or vasospastic (Prinzmetal’s) angina, the recommended doses range from 5 mg to 10 mg, with the lower dose suggested in the elderly and people with liver problems.
The recommended dose range for people with coronary artery disease is 5 mg to 10 mg. In clinical studies, most patients required 10 mg for optimal effects (DailyMed, 2008).
Summary of recommended dosing (Bulsara, 2020):
Your healthcare provider may adjust your dose based on your individual needs; it may take a week or two to fully assess your response (DailyMed, 2008).
Keep your amlodipine tablets in a closed container at room temperature and away from excess moisture or heat. Store the oral liquid in the refrigerator. Do not freeze.
Most insurance plans cover amlodipine. The cost for a 30-day supply ranges from about $6.50–$9 (GoodRx, nd).
Side effects of amlodipine
Amlodipine is an effective and well-tolerated medication that’s been studied in many clinical trials. However, like most drugs, it can cause adverse effects. Common side effects include headache, edema (swelling), tiredness (somnolence), and flushing (DailyMed, 2008). Serious side effects include severe chest pain, heart palpitations (racing heart rate), and fainting (MedlinePlus, 2019).
Before starting amlodipine, seek medical advice to avoid drug interactions with other medications you might be taking, including prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicines. Drug interactions with amlodipine can occur with diltiazem and CYP3A4 blockers, medicines that block the liver enzymes that break down amlodipine (FDA, 2011).
Contrary to internet rumors that amlodipine is banned in the Netherlands, this is not true.
- Bulsara KG, Cassagnol M.(2020). Amlodipine. [Updated 2020 Nov 4]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK519508/
- DailyMed. (2008). Amlodipine- amlodipine besylate tablet. Retrieved from https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=b52e2905-f906-4c46-bb24-2c7754c5d75b
- GoodRx. (n.d.). Amlodipine. Retrieved from https://www.goodrx.com/amlodipine?dosage=10mg&form=tablet&label_override=amlodipine&quantity=30
- Medline Plus. (2019). Amlodipine. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a692044.html
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). (2011). Norvasc (amlodipine besylate) tablets. Retrieved from https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2011/019787s047lbl.pdf
Dr. Mike is a licensed physician and the Director, Medical Content & Education at Ro.