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What is amlodipine?

Pharmacist in a lab coat with What is Amlodipine? written across the image
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What is amlodipine used for?

Amlodipine is a medicine to treat high blood pressure. Having high blood pressure increases the risk of issues like heart attacks, heart disease, stroke, and kidney damage. Taking amlodipine to control high blood pressure helps to reduce the risk of developing these conditions.

How does amlodipine work?

Amlodipine lowers your blood pressure and makes it easier for your heart to pump blood around the body.

How do I take amlodipine?

Amlodipine normally comes as tablets to swallow but is also sometimes available as a liquid. The dose is usually once a day and it’s to take it around the same time each day.

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What are the side effects of amlodipine?

Common side effects include headache, flushing (including facial flushing), feeling tired, and swollen ankles. These will normally improve and be fine or go away altogether after a few days of taking amlodipine.

Very rarely, people can have a bad reaction to amlodipine. Call a doctor urgently if you get severe stomach pain, yellowing of the skin or whites of your eyes, or bad chest pain.

Key facts about amlodipine

Amlodipine can be called amlodipine besilate, amlodipine maleate or amlodipine mesilate. This is because the medicine contains another chemical to make it easier for your body to take up and use it. It doesn't matter what your amlodipine is called. They all work as well as each other.

Don’t eat or drink lots of grapefruit or grapefruit juice while you’re taking amlodipine. Grapefruit contains something that can increase the concentration of amlodipine in your body and would make it more likely to get side effects.

Like nearly all medicines for treating high blood pressure, you need to carry on taking amlodipine even if you feel well. Your doctor will check your blood pressure a few times a year to make sure the amlodipine is working well.

It’s a good idea to cut down on salt. Eating too much salt is the biggest cause of high blood pressure - the more salt you eat, the higher your blood pressure will be. Aim for no more than 6g of salt a day.

Amlodipine and alcohol

You can drink alcohol while taking amlodipine but keep too sensible amounts. Drinking too much alcohol actually raises your blood pressure so it will cancel out some of the benefits of taking the medicine in the first place. The NHS has more information on Amlodipine and alcohol.

Further reading

As always, the NHS has a wealth of information on Amlodipine, high and low blood pressure and how to maintain a healthy diet.

If you’d like to learn a little more on how to prevent high blood pressure, how to maintain a healthy weight, or make some improvements to your diet, the NHS is on hand with a wealth of information:

Not sure if you’re eating too much salt, or worried if you are? The NHS has great tips on how to use nutrition labels to spot the salt in food, as well as clear guidelines on the daily salt recommendations for adults, children and babies, click here to check it out. 

Lastly, if you’d like to learn more about high blood pressure, we recommend checking out the British Heart Foundation’s website.  

Further information on amlodipine

If you'd like to learn more about amlodipine, check out our YouTube mini-series - Never Miss a Dose, our weekly show where we take a look inside the medicine cabinet of the nation.

In this series, we’ll take a look at the most commonly prescribed medication in the UK, what they’re used to treat and how best to take them. We’ll also do a demonstration at the end of each episode - it’s worth waiting for!