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All about: Nifedipine

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Generic name: Nifedipine
Brand names: Adalat CC, Adalat, Procardia XL, Procardia

Why is Nifedipine prescribed?

Procardia and Procardia XL are used to treat angina (chest pain caused by lack of oxygen to the heart due to clogged arteries or spasm of the arteries). Procardia XL is also used to treat high blood pressure. Procardia and Procardia XL are calcium channel blockers. They ease the workload of the heart by relaxing the muscles in the walls of the arteries, allowing them to dilate. This improves blood flow through the heart and throughout the body, reduces blood pressure, and helps prevent angina. Procardia XL is taken once a day and provides a steady rate of medication over a 24-hour period.

Most important fact about Nifedipine

If you have high blood pressure, you must take Procardia XL regularly for it to be effective. Since blood pressure declines gradually, it may be several weeks before you get the full benefit of Procardia XL; and you must continue taking it even if you are feeling well. Procardia XL does not cure high blood pressure; it merely keeps it under control.

How should you take Nifedipine?

Procardia and Procardia XL should be taken exactly as prescribed by your doctor, even if your symptoms have disappeared.

Procardia XL tablets are specially designed to release the medication into your bloodstream slowly. As a result, something that looks like a tablet may occasionally appear in your stool. This is normal and simply means that the medication has been released, and the shell that contained the medication has been eliminated from your body.

Procardia and Procardia XL tablets should be swallowed whole. Do not break, crush, or chew.

Procardia and Procardia XL can be taken with or without food. Adalat CC should be taken on an empty stomach.

Do not substitute another brand of nifedipine for Procardia or Procardia XL unless your doctor directs.

Procardia XL should be taken once a day. You can take it in the morning or evening, but should hold to the same time each day.

--If you miss a dose...

Take the forgotten dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed. Never take 2 doses at the same time.

--Storage instructions...

Procardia and Procardia XL can be stored at room temperature. Protect from moisture, light, humidity, and excessive heat.

What side effects may occur?

Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine whether it is safe for you to continue taking Procardia or Procardia XL.

  • More common side effects may include:
    Constipation, cough, dizziness, fatigue, flushing, giddiness, headache, heartburn, heat sensation, light-headedness, mood changes, muscle cramps, nasal congestion, nausea, sore throat, swelling of arms, legs, hands, and feet, tremors, wheezing

Why should Nifedipine not be prescribed?

Procardia should not be used if you have ever had an allergic reaction to it or are sensitive to it or other calcium channel blockers (Adalat, Calan, others). Make sure your doctor is aware of any drug reactions you have experienced.

Special warnings about Nifedipine

Procardia and Procardia XL may cause your blood pressure to become too low, which may make you feel light-headed or faint. This is more likely to happen when you start taking the medication and when the amount you take is increased. It is also more likely to occur if you are also taking a beta-blocker heart medication such as Tenormin or Inderal. Your doctor should check your blood pressure when you start taking Procardia or Procardia XL and continue monitoring it while your dosage is being adjusted.

Procardia XL can be used for high blood pressure; plain Procardia should be used only for angina--NOT for high blood pressure.

Do not take Procardia for the first week or two following a heart attack, or if you are in danger of a heart attack.

There is a remote possibility of experiencing increased angina when you start taking Procardia or Procardia XL, or when your dosage is increased. If this happens, contact your doctor immediately.

You may have angina pain if you suddenly stop taking beta blockers when beginning Procardia therapy. Your doctor will taper you off the other drug.

If you have tight aortic stenosis (a narrowing of the aortic valve that obstructs blood flow from the heart to the body) and have been taking a beta blocker, your doctor will monitor you carefully while you are taking Procardia or Procardia XL.

If you develop swelling of the arms, hands, legs, and feet, your doctor can prescribe a diuretic (water pill) to relieve the problem.

Procardia XL should be used cautiously if you have any stomach or intestinal narrowing.

Notify your doctor or dentist that you are taking Procardia if you have a medical emergency, and before you have surgery or dental treatment.

This drug is not recommended for use in children.

Possible food and drug interactions when taking Nifedipine

If Procardia or Procardia XL is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Procardia or Procardia XL with the following:

Cimetidine (Tagamet)
Digoxin (Lanoxin)
Quinidine (Quinaglute, Quinidex)

Taking Procardia with grapefruit juice can dramatically increase the effect of the drug. Do not combine the two.

Special information if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

The effects of Procardia and Procardia XL during pregnancy have not been adequately studied, although new animal research points to possible birth defects in humans. If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, inform your doctor immediately. It is not known whether Procardia or Procardia XL appears in breast milk and can affect a nursing infant. If Nifedipine is essential to your health, your doctor may advise you to discontinue breastfeeding until your treatment is finished.

Recommended dosage

ADULTS

The usual starting dose of Procardia and Adalat is one 10-milligram capsule, 3 times a day. The usual range is 10 to 20 milligrams 3 times a day. Some people may need 20 to 30 milligrams, 3 or 4 times a day. Usually you will not take more than 120 milligrams in a day and should take no more than 180 milligrams.

The starting dose of Procardia XL and Adalat CC is usually a 30- or 60-milligram tablet, taken once daily. Your doctor may increase the dose over 1 to 2 weeks if not satisfied with the way the drug is working. Doses above 120 milligrams per day are not recommended.

Although no serious side effects have been reported when Procardia XL is stopped, your doctor will probably have you lower the dose gradually under close supervision.

Overdosage

Any medication taken in excess can have serious consequences. If you suspect an overdose, seek medical treatment immediately.

  • Symptoms of Procardia overdose may include:
    Dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, severe drop in blood pressure, slurred speech, weakness

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