Norvasc (Amlodipine Besylate)

What is Norvasc?

Norvasc is a brand medicine first produced by Pfizer. Its active agent is amlodipine besylate which works by keeping calcium away from vascular smooth muscle cells. Thus, blood vessels get relaxed and widen. As a result, the blood flow and blood tension are improved.


Recommendations for Use

This drug is calcium channel blocker which is frequently prescribed to patients with hypertension, chronic stable angina, vasospastic angina, angiographically documented CAD and other cardiovascular diseases and heart failures which are accompanied by vasoconstrictions.

There are three kinds of Norvasc depending on the amount of amlodipine: 2.5 mg, 5 mg and 10 mg. This medicine is taken orally once a day with enough water and food. It’s your doctor who decides what dose will be appropriate for you, as it is directly dependant on the patient’s state, age and individual sensitivity.

Both adults and pediatric patients aged 6-17 may have Norvasc prescribed. Usually, children take from 2.5 mg up to 5 mg once a day. The maximum dose for adults is 10 mg per day, but the common one is 5 mg. Patients with hepatic insufficiency or kidney conditions, elderly patients and those who are fragile or small may have the initial dose of Norvasc lower than the usual one – 2.5 mg, or the dose may be equal to the one offered to patients without such problems.

Precautions and Contraindications

Norvasc must be taken carefully and according to the prescription, as overdose is possible. It may result in severe symptomatic hypotension sometimes leading to fainting or dizziness.

When starting or increasing the dose of the medicine, it’s possible to have angina and myocardial infarction worsen. Also it’s not recommended to stop taking Norvasc rapidly – gradual decrease of dose is advised. Patients with hepatic failures must have Norvasc slowly titrated. Pregnant women shouldn’t take the drug unless there is more benefit than harm. For nursing mothers it’s highly recommended to stop breast-feeding as sufficient studies concerning whether the drug comes into milk haven’t been carried out.

Drug Interactions

Norvasc action may be influenced by other drugs as well as changing the intensity of action of the medicines combined with it.

When taken with Sildenafil, Norvasc may lead to hypotension. CYP3A Inhibitors including ketoconazole (Nizoral, Extina), itraconazole (Sporanox), and ritonavir (Norvir) are known to result in increased exposure to the active agent of Norvasc, so hypertension and edema may appear when administrating these medicines together. If Norvasc is taken with Simvastatin or immunosuppressants, like cyclosporine (Restasis, Neoral), amlodipine makes your body more sensitive to the action of the drugs it is combined with, and dose reduction is required.

Also, the dosage of cholesterol-lowering medication simvastatin must be limited to 20 mg. It’s necessary to inform your doctor if you take some pills, including multivitamins with minerals, because they can decrease the effectiveness of Norvasc. In addition, grapefruit and grapefruit juice are better to be excluded from your diet.

Side Effects

Although highly effective, Norvasc may cause various side effect which consumers must be aware of. The side effects may be minor when no treatment is needed – they disappear themselves or your body gets used to them. However, major side effects are possible as well – if you experience them, it’s urgent to inform your doctor and have emergency help.

The most widespread major side effects are the following:

• Swelling of the ankles or feet;
• More frequent or severe chest pain;
• Fainting;
• Palpitations.

Among minor side effects are the following:

• Dizziness;
• Headache;
• Drowsiness;
• Fatigue;
• Stomach discomfort, upset, pain or nausea.

In general, Norvasc is a highly effective remedy for hypertension treatment approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Nevertheless, it must be combined with corresponding diet, exercise, etc. Sometimes other medicines are needed for successful treatment. Thus, consult your doctor before taking the drug.