Amlodipine is a medication that belongs to a group of drugs known as calcium channel blockers or calcium channel antagonists. It is prescribed to treat high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, and angina. By blocking the entry of calcium into certain tissues and arteries, amlodipine relaxes these areas, which improves blood flow.
This medication also helps prevent spasms of the coronary artery and slows down the heart rate, which reduces the body’s need for oxygen. As a result, blood pressure is lowered, and the risk of heart attack or stroke is reduced. Amlodipine can be taken alone or in combination with other heart medications.
It is important to note that amlodipine does not affect the levels of calcium in the blood.
Why is Amlodipine Banned in Canada?
Contrary to rumors, amlodipine is not banned in Canada. The rumor likely started because of a study that claimed long-term use of calcium channel blockers like amlodipine could increase the risk of certain types of breast cancer in women.
However, a larger study disproved this claim and showed no evidence of increased cancer risk.
Additionally, there was a recall by the FDA in February 2020 due to defective bottles, but this is unrelated to any ban on amlodipine in Canada.
Amlodipine is a medication that can be purchased in Canada with a valid prescription. If you have Amlodipine and are entering Canada, the border health authorities will permit you to bring the medication with you for the purpose of treatment.
History of Amlodipine
In 1990, amlodipine was granted approval for medical use after being patented in 1982. The medication is currently included in the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines and is available as a generic drug. It was also listed as the sixth most prescribed medication in the United States in 2019, with over 73 million prescriptions filled.
Benefits of Amlodipine
Besides being a generic drug, Amlodipine has been found to help maintain a healthy blood pressure level during exercise and can even improve exercise tolerance. When taking Amlodipine, the heart rate during maximum exercise remains stable or slightly reduced.
Additionally, Amlodipine has a long-lasting effect, with its highest concentration occurring between 6 and 12 hours after ingestion and remaining in the body for approximately 275 hours before being fully eliminated. It can be taken with or without food.
However, the safety of using Amlodipine during pregnancy or while breastfeeding is still unknown as there is limited research available. While it has been found to not affect pregnant animals or appear in their breast milk, women in these conditions should consult with their doctor before using Amlodipine.
Alternative Medications to Amlodipine
There are several alternative medications to amlodipine for treating high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, and angina. Some of these alternatives include:
It is important to note that the choice of medication depends on various factors such as the patient’s medical history, age, and any other medications they may be taking. Therefore, it is best to consult a healthcare professional to determine the most appropriate medication for each individual case.
Side Effects of Amlodipine
Although Amlodipine is not banned in Canada and can be prescribed, it can cause side effects like any other medication. The risk of developing side effects is higher for children, older adults, people with certain medical conditions such as liver or kidney problems, heart disease, diabetes, seizures, or those taking other medications.
Amlodipine is not recommended for children under the age of 6. For adults aged 18 to 60, some of the possible side effects may include leg or ankle swelling, tiredness, stomach pain, nausea, dizziness, flushing, irregular heart rate, fast heart rate, abnormal muscle movements, and tremors.
Immediate medical attention is needed if a patient experiences severe dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting, chest pain or discomfort, upper body discomfort, shortness of breath, breaking out in a cold sweat, unusual tiredness, nausea, lightheadedness, or increased chest pain or heart attack.
Prolonged use of Amlodipine may weaken the arteries and heart, leading to malfunction. It may also damage blood vessels in the brain, heart, and kidneys, potentially leading to stroke, kidney or heart failure. Patients with liver disease may require lower doses, and a lower starting dose of 2.5 mg/day is recommended for those already on antihypertensive treatment.
Case of Overdose
Although rare, an overdose of Amlodipine can occur. In such cases, it is important to manage the toxicity by replacing fluids and closely monitoring various bodily functions such as ECG results, vital signs, respiratory function, glucose levels, kidney function, electrolyte levels, and urine output.
Overdose of Amlodipine can lead to the widening of blood vessels, which can result in severe low blood pressure and increased heart rate. If low blood pressure does not improve with fluid resuscitation, vasopressors may be administered to alleviate symptoms.
Why Amlodipine is Taken at Night?
Some healthcare providers recommend taking amlodipine at night because of its long-lasting effects that can provide better blood pressure control throughout the day.
By taking the medication at night, the highest concentration of the drug in the body can occur during the morning hours when blood pressure tends to be highest, reducing the risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attack or stroke.
However, it is crucial to follow the dosing instructions provided by your healthcare provider and discuss any questions or concerns about your medication with them.