Calcium Channel Blocker Side Effects You Need To Be Aware Of
Calcium channel blocker is a type of medication that is used to treat hypertension (abnormally high blood pressure) and coronary artery disease (including angina and coronary spasm). Most of the time, these diseases are caused by the contraction of the smooth muscle cells of the coronary arteries or other types of arteries inside our body which are essential in distributing blood to the tiniest part of our body. Because this muscle contraction is triggered by calcium, the best way to avoid or treat the condition is by blocking the flow of calcium into the arterial muscle cells. This is what a calcium channel blocker drug does. When the flow of calcium is blocked, the arterial muscles will be dilated and relaxed. Hence the drug is very helpful to lower blood pressure and to provide relief from chest pains (angina) that is often associated with coronary artery disease.
Amlodipine is a dihydropyridine-class calcium channel blocker. This drug is manufactured and sold in many countries under different brand names. It is mostly produced in the form of pills and they are available in different doses: 2.5, 5, and 10 mg for oral administration. The active ingredient of these pills is amlodipine besylate, and they also include additional ingredients such as sodium starch glycolate, magnesium stearate, calcium phosphate dibasic anhydrous, and microcrystalline cellulose.
Like any other drugs, Amlodipine also has some side effects you need to be aware of. Common adverse effects include edema or water retention (swelling caused by fluid build up in the small spaces surrounding the body organs and tissues), headache, palpitations, and fatigue. The drug can also produce nervous system and gastrointestinal side effects.
Amlodipine side effects related to the nervous system include fainting, nervousness, dizziness, insomnia, drowsiness, and spinning sensation. On the other hand, gastrointestinal side effects include constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, loss of appetite, and pain in the abdominal area. All these side effects may occur in 1 – 8.3% of the total users.
Less common yet more serious Amlodipine side effects include pain in the chest, tachycardia (fast and irregular heartbeat), easy bleeding or bruising, gynecomastia (breast enlargement in men), impotence, insomnia and depression. On very rare but extreme cases, this drug can also cause fainting, high blood sugar, tremor, lightheadedness, tinnitus (ringing in the ear), vertigo, hot flashes, frequent urination, jaundice, as well as joint and muscular pains. Allergic reactions to this medication can also manifest as difficulty in breathing, skin rash, wheezing, hives, swelling, and itching.