Amlodipine is an antihypertensive drug. In addition to its use as a basic medication for high blood pressure (arterial hypertension), it is also used to treat chronic tightness in the chest (angina pectoris) and to prevent acute attacks of angina pectoris in Prinzmetal angina. Pharmacologically, it belongs to the class of calcium channel blockers. Amlodipine has a long half-life and therefore remains in the body for a long time, which means that it needs to be taken less frequently. Amplodipine is available on the market under the trade name Norvasc®.
Since the calcium concentration in the cells determines the state of vascular contraction, amlodipine can act here. Normally, stimulation of the so-called slow voltage-dependent L-type calcium channels leads to increased tension in the smooth muscles of the heart and vessels. This leads to an increase in blood pressure.
Amlodipine inhibits the influx of calcium into the cells. It causes vasodilatation. As a result, the active ingredient lowers the so-called peripheral resistance and thus lowers blood pressure.
It does not act on the cardiac conduction system. However, due to its effect it triggers a reflex activation from the so-called sympathetic nervous system (part of the autonomic nervous system). This manifests itself in the form of an increase in heart rate and an increased consumption of oxygen.
To counteract this, amlodipine preparations are usually given in combination with so-called ß-blockers. In comparison to other calcium channel blockers, amlodipine makes a lower sympathetic nervous system activation. It has been shown to lower so-called mortality and to a certain extent reduces the risk of stroke. It is therefore used as a standard active ingredient against high blood pressure. One disadvantage is that it does not have an adequate effect in cases of so-called unstable angina pectoris and fresh heart attack.
Dosage and intake
The intake and dosage of the active ingredient amlodipine should always be taken in consultation with the treating physician. As a rule, the dose for adults is initially 5 mg once a day. Later the dose can be increased to 10 mg once a day.
In children and adolescents between 6 and 17 years of age and in elderly people, an initial dose of 2.5 mg daily is usually recommended. The recommended maximum dose in this age group is 5 mg daily. Regular intake is important for the success of the treatment.
In case of complaints or uncertainties, the treating physician should be consulted. Amlodipine is usually taken only once a day due to its long half-life. For the treatment of high blood pressure the average dose is 5 mg, the maximum dose 10 mg. For the treatment of chest tightness (angina pectoris), 5-10 mg is usually used, but most patients need 10 mg for an adequate effect.
In older patients it is advisable to start with a lower dose of 2.5 mg for both symptoms, since in old age there is more frequent heart, liver or kidney damage, which promotes a longer retention of the drug in the organism and thus leads to an increased effect. Before taking the drug it is important to inform the treating physician about any amlodipine allergies or allergies to other drugs. In addition to this, the attending physician must know about all other medications taken in order to avoid interactions and allergic reactions.
When taking amlodipine, there is no need to consider meals. However, in order to ensure a constant level of efficacy, it should be taken at a similar time every day. While you are taking amlodipine, it is important to tell other doctors, such as your dentist, that you are currently taking the medicine. Furthermore, the treating physician must be informed about an existing pregnancy, current breastfeeding of an infant or an existing desire to have children in order to adequately advise the patient about the advantages and disadvantages of taking amlodipine under these circumstances.