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Generic Name: Amlodipine or amlodipine besylate
Brands: Amvaz®, Katerzia®, Norvasc®
Class: Calcium channel blocker (CCB), antianginal agent
Availability: Prescription only
Molecular Formula: C20H25ClN2O5
Substance UNII: 864V2Q084H

What is Amlodipine?

Amlodipine besylate is a calcium channel blocker. It is often sold under the brand names Amvaz®, Katerzia®, or Norvasc®. It is available by prescription only, and is typically prescribed in a dosage of 5 to 10 milligrams (mg) once per day as a pill or liquid. Some doctors may prescribe a lower dose of 2.5 mg if a patient is older, has liver disease, or has a lower body weight.

What is Amlodipine Used For?

Amlodipine is typically used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension). It can also be used to prevent chest pain (angina) caused by coronary artery disease.

How Does Amlodipine Work?

Amlodipine dilates (widens) blood vessels and relaxes the heart muscle by inhibiting the transport of calcium ions into heart and blood vessel muscle cells, thereby preventing muscular contraction. This action helps improve blood flow, decreases the resistance in peripheral blood vessels (veins and arteries in the limbs), and allows the heart to not have to work as hard while still getting plenty of oxygen.

How Long Does it Take for Amlodipine to Work?

Amlodipine generally begins working on the first day patients take it, but it can take about one week for the medication to reach its full effect. If a patient is taking amlodipine for high blood pressure, they may not notice anything different even if the amlodipine is working. The reason? High blood pressure often comes with few symptoms before it’s too late, which is why many call it the “silent killer.”

Do Not Use Amlodipine If:

There are several situations where this medication may not be the right choice for you. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the following should not use amlodipine:

  • Anyone who is allergic to amlodipine
  • Anyone who is younger than six years old

People with a history of heart failure or heart or liver disease or people who are pregnant or breastfeeding should check with their doctor before taking amlodipine, as it may not be safe for them to take. 

Please be aware this list may not be complete. There may be other situations where amlodipine use is not advisable, so you should speak with your doctor before taking amlodipine.

Disclaimer: this article does not constitute or replace medical advice. If you have an emergency or a serious medical question, please contact a medical professional or call 911 immediately. To see our full medical disclaimer, visit our Terms of Use page.


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