What is Nifedipine?
Nifedipine is known as a calcium channel blocker drug which dilates (relaxes and widens) blood vessels (veins and arteries) making it easier for the heart to pump blood and lower its workload. This medicine is prescribed for the treatment of hypertension (high blood pressure) and angina (chest pain). It may also be used for other purposes not listed here.
Nifedipine is sold under various trade names, some of which are Procardia, Myogard (made by UPM), Nicardia (made by Unique), Nifelat (made by Cipla), and Adalat Chrono (made by Bayer Healthcare).
Important Information about Nifedipine
Do not take Nifedipine (Procardia, Myogard, Nicardia, Nifelat, and Adalat Chrono) if you are allergic to it. Before taking this medication, let your doctor know if you are allergic to it or to other drugs, if you have ever had heart disease (congestive heart failure), liver disease, a blockage in your digestive tract (stomach or intestines), a history of stomach surgery, coronary artery disease, or hypothyroidism.
Before having a surgery or any medical procedure, inform your doctor or other healthcare personnel that you are taking Nifedipine. This medication may make you dizzy. Do not drive or do any such activities which require a great deal of alertness until you are sure that you can do them safely. Limit or avoid alcohol consumption.
Nifedipine is classfied as an FDA pregnancy category C drug. It is not known whether this medication can harm an unborn baby if taken during pregnancy. This medication can pass into breast milk and harm a nursing baby. You must consult your doctor before using this medication if you are pregnant or breast feeding.
Before taking Nifedipine
Prior to taking Nifedipine, you must tell your doctor if you have any of the following conditions: kidney disease, liver disease (especially cirrhosis), a blockage in the digestive tract (stomach or intestines), inflammatory bowel disease, diverticulitis, chronic constipation, a colostomy or a history of stomach surgery such as gastric bypass, colon cancer, hypothyroidism, coronary artery disease, or congestive heart failure. This is for the doctor to judge whether it is safe for you to take this medication.
Extended release tablets of Nifedipine may contain lactose. Let your doctor know if you are lactose intolerant.
How should I take Nifedipine?
Take Nifedipine strictly according to your doctor?s directions or according to the instructions on the medication label. Do not alter the dosage unless your doctor advises you to do so. Also, do not take this medication after the prescribed period is over. All medications come with a patient leaflet. Refer the instructions in them for detailed information on that particular medication. Nifedipine can be taken with or without food. Always store this medicine in a cool and dry place.
Do not break, crush, or chew an extended release tablet of Nifedipine. Instead, swallow it whole. Breaking, crushing, or chewing an extended release tablet may cause too much of the drug to be release in a short time. Let your doctor know if you have excessive sweating, vomiting or diarrhea. These conditions can cause severe low blood pressure.
Some tablet forms of Nifedipine are made with a shell that is not absorbed or melted in the body and gets excreted in the stool. This is normal and not a reason to worry.
What if I miss a dose?
You should take all medication on time as prescribed. Missing even a single dose can be harful in certain cases. If you miss a dose of fo Nifedipine, then take it at the instant you remember it. However, you must skip the missed dose if the time to take the next scheduled dose is near.?
What if I overdose?
In case of an overdose of Nifedipine, get emergency medical attention or call the Poison helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Overdose may lead to severe dizziness, pounding heartbeats, nausea, vomiting, or feeling like you might pass out.
Things and Activities to avoid while taking Nifedipine
Alcoholic beverages must be avoided while taking this medicine as alcohol can further lower blood pressure. Also avoid activities which require a high level of mental awareness and reflexes (such as driving). Do not consume grapefruit or grapefruit based products as they can interact with Nifedipine and cause potentially dangerous effects.
Nifedipine Side Effects
Some common side effects of Nifedipine are dizziness, flushing, weakness, swelling in ankles or feet or headache. If any of these effects persist or deteriorate, get medical attention right away.
Nifedipine can rarely worsen chest pain or cause heart attack in some people who already have severe heart disease. This happens after starting this medication or increasing the dose. Get medical attention right away if you experience worsening chest pain or the first sign of heart attack (pain in chest/jaw/left arm, shortness of breath, or unusual sweating.
All information includind that of side effects is limited in this guide. If you experience other side effects and think that they are serious, seek medical attention right away. FDA has a helpline for reporting side effects. You can report your side effects (recommended) by calling the helpline at 1-800-FDA-1088 (toll free).
Nifedipine Dosing Information
Nifedipine dosage may depend on a range of factors like age, sex, drug allergies, or seriousness of the condition among several other factors. Your dosage will be determined by your doctor after examining you properly. Remember to follow your doctor?s advice properly for best results.
Interaction with other drugs
Many other drugs can interact with Nifedipine. Let your doctor know in advance if you use any other drugs or related products (OTC vitamin pills or other medicines, or herbal products), especially cemitidine, conivaptan, digoxin, fentanyl, imatinib, isoniazid, laxatives, levothyroxine, nefazodone, NSAIDs (ibuprofen, naproxen, or others), cold or allergy medications, tizanidine, St.John?s Wort, HIV/AIDS medicines, antibiotics (clartithromycin, erythromycin, or others), or seizure medicines. Remember that the information provided here is very limited. There may be other interacting drugs. Do not start or stop any medications without proper medical advice.