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Coracten (nifedipine)

Nifedipine is a type of medicine called a calcium blocker. Calcium blockers allow blood vessels to relax and widen. This allows easier blood flow and thus lowers blood pressure. Nifedipine is available in tablet and capsule form.

Nifedipine

Nifedipine is a type of medicine called a calcium blocker. Calcium blockers allow blood vessels to relax and widen. This allows easier blood flow and thus lowers blood pressure. Nifedipine is available in tablet and capsule form.

Table of Contents

  • What is Nifedipine?
  • When is Nifedipine used?
  • How is Nifedipine used?
  • What doses are available?
  • What are the side effects of Nifedipine?
  • When not to use Nifedipine?
  • Can Nifedipine be used in combination with other medicines?
  • Where can I buy Nifedipine?
  • Can I buy Nifedipine without a prescription?
  • Sources

What is Nifedipine?

Nifedipine is a calcium blocker which works by slowing the movement of calcium into the cells. Calcium causes muscles in the arteries to contract more strongly. By blocking calcium, calcium blockers reduce this effect, allowing blood vessels to relax. The relaxed vessels let blood flow more easily through them and make it easier for the heart to pump blood around the body, thereby lowering blood pressure.

When is Nifedipine used?

Nifedipine is primarily prescribed to treat the following conditions:

  • High blood pressure. High pressure puts extra strain on the blood vessels and heart. Persistent high blood pressure can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Nifedipine lowers blood pressure, thereby reducing this risk.
  • Angina pectoris. Angina is chest pain caused by reduced blood flow to the heart muscles. Angina attacks mainly happen when exercise, emotional upset or other events make demands on the heart muscle.
  • Raynaud's phenomenon. Raynaud's is a condition that occurs because the blood vessels go into a temporary spasm, which blocks the flow of blood. This causes the affected areas in fingers and/or toes to change colour and become painful.

Nifedipine allows the blood vessels to relax. This improves blood flow and makes it easier for the heart to pump blood around the body, thereby lowering blood pressure.

How is Nifedipine used?

It is important to follow the instructions given by your doctor when using this medicine. The general guidelines for use are as follows:

  • Nifedipine tablets or capsules should be swallowed whole with a drink of water; do not chew or crush them.
  • This medicine should be taken daily at the same time each day. Try to make sure it's around the same time or times every day. Each dose should be at least two hours apart.
  • Nifedipine can be taken with or without food. Do not have grapefruit or grapefruit juice while taking this medicine. Grapefruit is known to intensify the side effects of this medicine.
  • Limit or stop drinking alcohol while taking this medicine as this is likely to trigger or worsen side effects such as dizziness.
  • If you have forgotten to take a dose, you may take your tablet or capsule as soon as you remember unless it's almost time for the next scheduled dose. In this case, you should skip the dose you missed and take the next scheduled dose as normal.

For more information on how to use Nifedipine, see the package leaflet.

What doses are available?

Nifedipine is available in various strengths, including capsules of 5 mg and 10 mg, and retard tablets of 10 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg and 60 mg. Strength, length of treatment and daily dose must be determined by a doctor. The general guidelines for use are as follows:

For high blood pressure

  • Adults: one or two 10 mg-capsules three times a day, or one or two 20 mg-tablets twice a day. The doctor may adjust the dosage, if necessary.

For stable angina pectoris

  • Adults: the starting dose is one 10 mg-capsule three to four times a day or one 30 mg-tablet once a day. The doctor may decide to increase the starting dose after a while according to your body’s response to the medicine.

Other conditions may require a different dose. This medicine is not suitable for use in children and adolescents under 18 years of age. For more information on the dosage of Nifedipine, see the package leaflet.

What are the side effects of Nifedipine?

Like all medicines, Nifedipine may cause side effects, although most people do not experience any. The most commonly reported side effects include:

  • Headache.
  • Facial flushing.
  • Vertigo, dizziness, lightheadedness.
  • Tiredness.
  • Stomach or intestinal problems.

For a complete list of possible side effects, see the package leaflet. Consult a doctor if these or other side effects are severe.

When not to use Nifedipine?

Nifedipine is not suitable for everyone and should not be used if:

  • You are allergic to the active ingredient nifedipine or any other ingredient in this medicine.
  • You have low blood pressure.
  • You have had a recent heart attack.
  • You are in shock.

Nifedipine should be used with caution and only after consulting a doctor if:

  • You have a decreased liver function.
  • You have ever had a heart attack.
  • You have a weak heart.
  • You have a narrowing or blockage in a coronary artery.
  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding (do not take this medicine unless a doctor advises otherwise).

For a complete list of warnings, see the package leaflet. Always consult a doctor if you are unsure if Nifedipine is suitable for you.

Can Nifedipine be used in combination with other medicines?

Nifedipine may interact with other medicines, including:

  • Certain medicines to treat infections, such as rifampicin.
  • Certain anti-epilepsy medicines, such as phenytoin, carbamazepine and phenobarbital.
  • Certain antibiotics, such as erythromycin.
  • Certain medicines for stomach or gut problems, such as stomach acid inhibitors.
  • Certain antidepressants.
  • Certain HIV inhibitors.

For a complete list of medicines that can interfere with the way Nifedipine works, please see the package leaflet. Your doctor will also have a list of medicines that you should avoid mixing Nifedipine with.

Where can I buy Nifedipine?

Nifedipine is only available at pharmacies or online pharmacies.

Can I buy Nifedipine without a prescription?

Nifedipine is a prescription-only medicine. This means you need a prescription from a registered doctor to obtain it.

Sources

Dutch Drug Evaluation Committee. (n.d.-a). Nifedipine Aurobindo Retard 10 mg, tablets. Medicines Database. Consulted on 21 May 2021 on https://www.geneesmiddeleninformatiebank.nl/ords/f?p=111:3::SEARCH:NO::P0_DOMAIN,P0_LANG,P3_RVG1:H,NL,20138

Dutch Drug Evaluation Committee. (n.d.-b). Nifedipine CF 5 mg, capsules. Medicines Database. Consulted on 21 May 2021 on https://www.geneesmiddeleninformatiebank.nl/ords/f?p=111:3::SEARCH:NO::P0_DOMAIN,P0_LANG,P3_RVG1:H,NL,15869

The Netherlands Heart Foundation. (n.d.). Everything about calcium blockers. Consulted on 21 May 2021 on https://www.hartstichting.nl/hart-en-vaatziekten/behandelingen/medicijnen/calciumblokkers

Royal Dutch Pharmaceutical Society. (2019, 13 November). Nifedipine. Apotheek.nl. https://www.apotheek.nl/medicijnen/nifedipine#

Dutch National Health Care Institute. (n.d.). Nifedipine. FK-online. Consulted on 21 May 2021 on https://www.farmacotherapeutischkompas.nl/bladeren/preparaatteksten/n/nifedipine#

Patient Leaflet(s)
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