Amlodipine UsesSpecific amlodipine uses include:
- Controlling high blood pressure (hypertension)
- Treating heart disease (specifically, coronary artery disease), including:
High Blood Pressure
A blood pressure reading consists of two numbers -- for example: 120/80. The top number is known as the systolic blood pressure, and the bottom number is the diastolic blood pressure. High blood pressure is defined as an average blood pressure higher than 140/90, with multiple blood pressure readings.
In clinical studies, amlodipine was shown to significantly lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressures. By lowering blood pressure, the drug can decrease the risk of developing health problems (such as a stroke, heart disease, or congestive heart failure) that often occur with long-term high blood pressure (see Effects of High Blood Pressure). Amlodipine is not a cure for high blood pressure, however.
The term "heart disease" usually refers to coronary artery disease. The coronary arteries are blood vessels that carry blood and oxygen to the heart muscle. When these arteries become clogged with fatty deposits called plaque, it's called coronary artery disease, coronary heart disease, or just heart disease. Clogged arteries can keep the heart from getting enough blood and oxygen, and can cause chest pain. If a blood clot forms, it can suddenly cut off blood flow in the artery and cause a heart attack.
Amlodipine helps the arteries to relax, which helps to relieve and prevent chest pain (known medically as angina). There are several types of angina, including:
- Stable angina (exertional angina or exercise-induced angina)
- Unstable angina
- Variant angina (Prinzmetal's angina).
Stable angina is the most common type of angina. It occurs when the heart is working harder than usual. The angina pain comes at predicable times (such as during exercise) and usually goes away in a few minutes after you rest or take your angina medicine. Unstable angina is a dangerous condition that requires emergency treatment, as it is a sign that a heart attack could occur soon. Unlike stable angina, it does not follow a pattern. It can occur without physical exertion and is not relieved by rest or medicine. Variant angina is rare; it usually occurs at rest and is caused by spasms in the arteries of the heart. Amlodipine is approved to treat both stable angina and variant angina.
Amlodipine is also approved to treat coronary artery disease in people who do not have angina symptoms. Usually, heart disease is found in these people during a procedure called cardiac catheterization. The drug can help prevent hospitalization due to chest pain and surgery in these cases.
In general, amlodipine should not be used in people with heart failure. It can cause fluid retention, which may be especially dangerous in people with heart failure.