Zanidip is a type of medicine called a calcium channel blocker, which have a widening effect on the arteries, which lowers blood pressure and in turn helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
What is Zanidip?
Zanidip is a medicine for lowering the blood pressure, and as such reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. Zanidip tablets contain the active ingredient lercanidipine hydrochloride, which is a calcium channel blocker that acts specifically on the muscle cells in the walls of the arteries, causing them to relax and allowing the arteries to widen. Zanidip tablets take approximately six weeks to take effect.
When is Zanidip used?
Zanidip is prescribed to treat high blood pressure (hypertension), which rarely has noticeable symptoms but if left untreated, increases the risk of serious problems such as heart failure and strokes. If your blood pressure is too high, it puts extra strain on your blood vessels which can weaken the heart muscle or damage (or rupture) the arteries. Calcium is needed by muscle cells so that they can contract. Zanidip blocks calcium channels in these muscle cells which allows the arteries in the body to widen and relax, decreasing resistance which reduces blood pressure. Zanidip is usually used when other medicines to lower blood pressure such as a diuretics, beta blockers or ACE inhibitors, have not been effective.
How is Zanidip used?
Always use this medication as directed by your doctor. The general guidelines for use are as follows:
- Zanidip tablets should be swallowed whole without chewing, on an empty stomach, at least 15 minutes before a meal;
- The daily dose should be taken at the same time each day, preferably before breakfast to avoid missing any doses;
- If you have forgotten to take a tablet, you should take it as soon as you remember if it is still more than eight hours until your next scheduled dose. If it is less than eight hours until your next dose, skip the dose you missed and take the next scheduled dose of Zanidip tablets as normal.
Dizziness and weariness may occasionally occur during treatment with Zanidip, especially during the first days. If this happens to you, do not drive a car until you feel better. Dizziness usually goes away within a few days once the body gets used to the medication. Be careful with drinking alcohol when taking Zanidip tablets as alcohol also widens the blood vessels, which can make you feel dizzy. Do not eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice while you are taking Zanidip tablets as it can make side effects worse. If you do want to eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice, make sure to limit your intake to twice a week, with each intake spaced at least three days apart. See the package leaflet for more information on the use of this medicine.
What doses are available?
Zanidip is available in tablet form in two strengths: 10 mg and 20 mg. The dosage should be determined by a doctor and monitored properly. The usual starting dose for adults is 10 mg once a day. If this dose is not working well enough, a doctor may increase the dose to 20 mg once a day. However, this increase may not be appropriate (or must be taken with caution) in elderly patients with a liver or kidney condition. This medicine is not suitable for use in children and adolescents under 18 years of age as safety and effectiveness have not been established in this age group. For more information on dosage, see the package leaflet.
What are the side effects of Zanidip?
Zanidip tablets can cause side effects, including the following:
- Faster than normal heartbeat (tachycardia), palpitations;
- Swollen ankles or lower legs;
- Facial redness or flushing;
- Gastrointestinal symptoms;
- Fatigue and muscle weakness;
- Swelling of the gums;
- Muscle ache;
- Skin rash.
For a complete list of side effects, see the package leaflet. Consult a doctor if you experience severe or persistent side effects.
When not to use Zanidip?
Zanidip tablets are not suitable for everyone and should not be used if you:
- Are allergic to other calcium channel blockers, lercanidipine hydrochloride or any other of the ingredients in this medicine (e.g. lactose);
- Have severe kidney or liver problems;
- Have a heart condition.
Consult a doctor if you are pregnant or trying to conceive. Zanidip tablets should not be taken during pregnancy as they may be harmful to the unborn baby. This medicine may pass into breast milk and should not be used during breastfeeding as the effect on a nursing infant is not known. For more information about contraindications and warnings, see the package leaflet.
Can Zanidip be used in combination with other medicines?
Some medicines interact with one another which may increase the side effects or decrease the effectiveness of the medicines. Zanidip tablets are known to interact with the following medications:
- Other blood-pressure-lowering medications, as combining Zanidip with these medicines may cause your blood pressure to become too low;
- Medication for an enlarged prostate (e.g. alfuzosin, doxazosin and terazosin);
- Cimetidine (stomach acid reducer);
- Certain medications to slow down the heart rate;
- Certain medications to treat epilepsy;
- Certain antibiotics (e.g. caritromycin, erytromycin);
- Certain antidepressants (e.g. fluoxetine, fluvoxamine);
- Certain antifungal medicines;
- Midazolam (sleeping medication);
- Simvastatin (cholesterol-lowering medication);
- Certain HIV inhibitors.
If you are taking any of the medicines listed above, it is important to tell your doctor before you start treatment with Zanidip tablets, to make sure that the combination is safe. For more information on interactions, see the package leaflet.
Where can I buy Zanidip?
Zanidip tablets are only available at pharmacies or online pharmacies.
Can I buy Zanidip without a prescription?
Zanidip is a prescription-only medicine. This means you need a prescription from a registered doctor to obtain it.
Datapharm. (November 2018). Zanidip 10 mg tablets – Patient Information Leaflet (PIL). EMC (Electronic Medicines Compendium). Consulted on 27 June 2020 on https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/191/pil
Royal Dutch Pharmaceutical Society. (November 2016). Lercanidipine – Apotheek.nl. Consulted on 27 June 2020 on https://www.apotheek.nl/medicijnen/lercanidipine
Dutch College of General Practitioners. (6 May 2019). Taking medicine for high cholesterol | Thuisarts. Consulted on 27 June 2020 on https://thuisarts.nl/hoge-bloeddruk/ik-word-behandeld-voor-hoge-bloeddruk
Dutch National Health Care Institute. (n.d.). Lercanidipine – Farmacotherapeutisch Kompas. Consulted on 27 June 2020 on https://www.farmacotherapeutischkompas.nl/bladeren/preparaatteksten/l/lercanidipine