Amlodipine Side Effects

Amlodipine Side Effects Amlodipine Side Effects

Amlodipine Side Effects You Should Know About

High blood pressure (hypertension) is a disease that almost half of the adults in the U.S. have and was a primary or contributing cause of more than 670.000 deaths in 2020. (1) In most cases, hypertension is manageable with medications. Yet, it is a disease without symptoms, and if untreated, hypertension increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, or kidney failure. (2)

Medications like amlodipine alone or in combination can lower the blood pressure to the normal (120/80 mmHg) or elevated category (<129/80 mmHg). (1) But what about the side effects? How concerning is the heart attack when on amlodipine treatment and other possible side effects? (3)

This article is about amlodipine’s side effects. Keep reading to learn what conditions you can manage yourself and when to call healthcare providers. Also, find the additional American Heart Association (AHA) recommendations for high blood pressure regulation.

What is Amlodipine?

Amlodipine Side Effects

Amlodipine Side Effects – What is Amlodipine?

Amlodipine is a medication from the calcium channel blockers group of drugs. The role of calcium is to make the heart and arteries contract strongly. If calcium does not enter the heart and arteries cells, blood vessels can relax. Amlodipine works this way and prevents calcium from entering the cells. Once amlodipine blocks the calcium, blood vessels relax and open. (4)

Thanks to this mechanism, amlodipine is used alone or in combination with other drugs for the treatment of the following conditions.

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is higher than the normal pressure that blood makes to the arteries’ walls. It happens if the arteries are narrower or the heart pumps more blood than in healthy individuals, which causes the pressure to increase. (2)

Amlodipine relaxes the blood vessels, and the blood flows easier; as a result, the heart doesn’t need extra effort to pump blood. Regulated blood pressure reduces the risk of brain, heart, blood vessels, and kidney damage and prevents a heart attack or stroke. (3, 5)


Angina is a type of chest pain when the heart doesn’t get enough blood supply. Usually, this pain occurs in the chest under the breastbone. The pain can also appear in the shoulders, neck, arms, jaws, or back. Amlodipine increases the blood supply to the heart and reduces pain. Regular treatment with amlodipine can control the chest pain but cannot stop if it starts. (3, 5)

What Are the Possible Amlodipine Side Effects?

Amlodipine has been used for 30 years, and most of the side effects are well known. However, when using it for the first time, the body needs some time to get used to the medicine, so often, side effects that occur at the beginning improve over time.

The most common amlodipine side effect is edema which occurs depending on the dose. Other adverse experiences that may happen in more than 1% of the patients are fatigue, nausea, and abdominal pain.

Most of the side effects are mild to moderate:

  • swelling of your legs or ankles;
  • tiredness, extreme sleepiness;
  • stomach pain, nausea;
  • dizziness;
  • flushing (hot or warm feeling on your face);
  • arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat);
  • heart palpitations (very fast heartbeat);
  • muscle rigidity, tremor, or abnormal muscle movement. (3)

Side Effects That You Can Help Yourself

In some conditions of mild symptoms, you might find helpful England’s National Health Service recommendations and help yourself in symptom management: (6)

Headaches – Headaches usually disappear after a week of taking amlodipine. Get rest and intake fluids. Avoid alcohol. Get advice from a pharmacist if you need a painkiller. If the headache stays for more than a week, consult your physician;

Dizziness – If you feel dizzy, sit or lie until you feel better. Then, from a lying position, sit and wait for a while, and after stand up slowly. Avoid driving, operating machinery and tools, or riding a bike until the dizziness goes away;

Flushing – Reduce coffee, tea, and alcohol consumption. Stay in a cool room, freshen your face with cool water, and get cold drinks;

A pounding heartbeat – If it regularly happens to you after taking amlodipine, adopt the dose time in a part of the day when you can sit until the symptoms are most severe. Exclude alcohol, tea, coffee, smoking, and big meals. (6)

However, the best way is to consult your doctor if any adverse reaction appears.

Serious Side Effects

If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately or emergency:

Stomach problems – Severe pain in your stomach, diarrhea, stool with blood, feeling sick and being sick (nausea and vomiting) can be signs of pancreatitis;

Liver problems – The whites of your eyes turn yellow, or your skin becomes yellow;

Chest pain – If you have angina and the chest pain does not stop after a few minutes or is new or worse than the one before, it can be a sign of a heart attack;

Allergic reaction – People allergic to amlodipine must not take this medication. However, if you don’t know, the symptoms, including skin rash, itching, red or swollen skin, wheezing, tightened chest or throat, trouble with breathing or talking, or swelling mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat, suggest an allergic reaction. (6)

Warning and Precautions

Rarely, when introducing amlodipine, the patient may have a heart attack or angina get worse, paritcularly those patients with severily ocluded coronary arteries. If it happens to you, call your emergency right away or go to a hospital emergency room. (3)

Hypotension is possible in patients with severe aortic stenosis (a condition in which the aortic valve in the heart cannot open fully and allow oxygenized blood to go to the body). (7) Acute hypotension is unlikely because the amlodipine effects gradually. (3)

If you have impaired liver function, your doctor will initiate half a dose and increase it slowly. Amlodipine is metabolized in the liver and takes 56 hours to be eliminated from the body. (3)

How Should You Take Amlodipine?

Amlodipine tablets are available in doses of 2.5mg, 5mg, and 10mg. The initial dose in adults is 5mg and can be increased to 10mg daily. In children, the doctor can start treatment with 2.5mg and increase, if needed to a 5mg daily dose.

Take the recommended dose once a day, every day, possibly at the same time. If you miss the dose, take it as soon as you realize it, except if 12 hours have passed since the last dose. In such a case, wait until the time for the next dose comes. If you took too much amlodipine, call your doctor or poison center, or go to the emergency care unit in the closest hospital immediately.

Check with your doctor if you need to take any new prescription or over-the-counter medication. Amlodipine interacts with some medicines. Therefore, the doctor knows which medication can be used with amlodipine. (3)

Another High Blood Pressure Regulation Advises

Amlodipine or any other medication cannot get the maximal result in hypertension regulation until you make lifestyle changes and introduce healthy habits. American Heart Association (AHA) recommends the following changes that matter: (8)

Eat a well-balanced diet with low salts – Introduce a diet with fresh fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products, whole grains, fish, olive oil, nuts, and legumes. Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) limits red meat, salt, sweets, and sugar-sweetened beverages.

Limit alcohol – Too much alcohol can increase blood pressure. Therefore, limit daily alcohol consumption to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women.

Enjoy regular physical activity – Regular physical activity is beneficial for high blood pressure and weight regulation, strengthens the heart, and reduces stress. AHA recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week, spread into several days. It should include flexibility and stretching exercises and muscle-strengthening activities. You can choose from brisk walking, hiking or stair-climbing, jogging, bicycling, swimming, fitness, team sports, or dance class, whatever activity is best for you.

Manage stress – There are simple ways to reduce the stress that is a risk factor for high blood pressure. Talking with family or friends, improving time management, learning how to say “No,” accepting things that are out of your control, or finding time to relax are some of the ways you can implement.

Maintaining a healthy weight – Being overweight puts a greater risk of high blood pressure, developing health problems, putting extra strain on the heart, and damaging blood vessels. A healthy diet plus physical activity can do a lot to lose a few pounds and maintain a healthy weight.

Quit smoking – Smoking is a risk factor for heart attack or stroke and increases the risk of building up fatty substances in the arteries that leads to high blood pressure. For these and many other conditions where smoking is a risk factor, you should quit and continue to live a healthier life.

Many of the above recommendations are easy to implement, and goodwill is the only you need to do it. For those changes that you tried and failed or don’t know how to do it effectively, consult your doctor. Working together with your doctor can help a lot in making healthy life changes.

Final Thoughts

High blood pressure comes over time and needs a comprehensive approach to be managed in the healthy range. Amlodipine is a proven medication with well-known side effects. Although many side effects are mild-moderate and transitory, serious ones need more attention and self-awareness to act accordingly.

Your doctor or pharmacist can help you learn all you need and support you in an emergency. If you experience serious side effects, call your doctor or go to the hospital emergency room. Report events that make you feel bad.

Make additional life changes beneficial for your high blood pressure and other health conditions. Keep looking for your well-being before it is too late; it is the best thing you can do for yourself.


  1. Facts About Hypertension, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, October 14, 2022,
  2. About High Blood Pressure, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, May 18, 2021,
  3. NORVASC® (amlodipine besylate) 2.5mg, 5mg, and 10mg tablets, Prescribing Information, January 2019,
  4. Calcium channel blockers, Mayo Clinic, September 16, 2021,
  5. Amlodipine, MedlinePlus, February 15, 2021,
  6. Side effects of amlodipine, NHS, February 18, 2022,
  7. Aortic stenosis: Do health disparities affect treatment? Harvard Medical School, August 12, 2021,
  8. Changes You Can Make to Manage High Blood Pressure, American Heart Association, November 30, 2017,

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About the Author

Biljana Srbinovska
Biljana is a Master of Pharmacy, with a Healthcare Management specialization. Over 20 years of professional engagement to enable access to innovative treatments for patients in need. Biljana is dedicated to upgrading health education evidence-based, promoting a healthy lifestyle, and embedding healthy habits.

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