Nifedipine: Uses, Side Effects

Nifedipine is in a group of drugs called
calcium channel blockers. It works by relaxing the muscles of your heart and
blood vessels.

Nifedipine is used to treat hypertension
(high blood pressure) and angina (chest pain).

Nifedipine may also be used for purposes
not listed in this medication guide.

Important information

You should not use nifedipine if you have
severe coronary artery disease, or if you have had a heart attack within the
past 2 weeks.

Before taking nifedipine, tell your doctor
if you have kidney or liver disease, a blockage in your digestive tract
(stomach or intestines), a history of stomach surgery, coronary artery disease,
underactive thyroid, diabetes, or congestive heart failure.

If you need surgery, tell the surgeon ahead
of time that you are using nifedipine. You may need to stop using the medicine
for a short time.

Do not stop taking nifedipine without first
talking to your doctor, even if you feel fine. Stopping suddenly may make your
condition worse. High blood pressure often has no symptoms. You may need to use
blood pressure medication for the rest of your life.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use this medicine if you are
allergic to nifedipine, if you have severe coronary artery disease, or if you
have had a heart attack within the past 2 weeks.

To make sure nifedipine is safe for you,
tell your doctor if you have:

  • severe COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease);
  • kidney disease;
  • congestive heart failure; or
  • if you take other medications, especially an antibiotic or
    antifungal medicine, an antidepressant, heart or blood pressure medicine, or
    drugs to treat HIV/AIDS or hepatitis C.

It is not known whether nifedipine will
harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become
pregnant while using this medication.

Nifedipine can pass into breast milk and
may harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

The nifedipine extended-release tablet may
contain lactose. Talk to your doctor before using this form of nifedipine if
you have galactose intolerance, or severe problems with lactose (milk sugar).

Side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any
signs of an allergic reaction to nifedipine: hives; difficult breathing;
swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • worsening angina;
  • a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;
  • pounding heartbeats or fluttering in your chest;
  • chest pain or heavy feeling, pain spreading to the jaw or shoulder,
    nausea, sweating, general ill feeling;
  • swelling in your ankles or feet; or
  • upper stomach pain, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Common nifedipine side effects may include:

  • mild dizziness;
  • flushing (warmth, redness, or tingly feeling);
  • weakness, headache, mood changes;
  • heartburn, nausea;
  • tremors, muscle cramps; or
  • cough, wheezing, sore throat, stuffy nose.

This is not a complete list of side effects
and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.

What other drugs will affect nifedipine?

Other drugs may interact with nifedipine, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.

Keyword: nifedipine.

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