This medication is used alone or in combination with other drugs to treat high blood pressure (hypertension). Lowering high blood pressure helps prevent strokes, heart attacks, and kidney problems. Nifedipine belongs to a class of medications known as calcium channel blockers. It works by relaxing blood vessels so blood can flow more easily.
OTHER USES: This section contains uses of this drug that are not listed in the approved professional labeling for the drug but that may be prescribed by your health care professional. Use this drug for a condition that is listed in this section only if it has been so prescribed by your health care professional.
This medication may also be used for certain types of chest pain (angina). It may help to increase your ability to exercise and decrease the frequency of angina attacks. This medication must be taken regularly to be effective. It should not be used to treat attacks of chest pain when they occur. Use other medications (e.g., sublingual nitroglycerin) to relieve attacks of chest pain as directed by your doctor. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for details.
This medication may also be used to treat certain blood circulation disorders (Raynaud's syndrome).
Take this medication by mouth on an empty stomach, usually once daily or as directed by your doctor. Do not crush or chew this medication. Doing so can release all of the drug at once, increasing the risk of side effects. Also, do not split the tablets unless they have a score line and your doctor or pharmacist tells you to do so. Swallow the whole or split tablet without crushing or chewing.
Your doctor may gradually increase your dose. Follow your doctor's instructions carefully. Dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment.
Avoid eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice while being treated with this medication unless your doctor instructs you otherwise. Grapefruit juice can increase the amount of certain medications in your bloodstream. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.
Use this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. Remember to use it at the same time each day. It is important to continue taking this medication even if you feel well. Most people with high blood pressure do not feel sick.
Do not suddenly stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor. Your condition may become worse when the drug is suddenly stopped. Your dose may need to be gradually decreased.
Tell your doctor if your condition worsens (e.g., increase in your routine blood pressure readings).
Headache, dizziness, nausea, flushing, constipation, leg/muscle cramps, or sexual problems may occur. To reduce dizziness and lightheadedness, get up slowly when rising from a sitting or lying position. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Although this medication is effective in preventing chest pain (angina), some people who already have severe heart disease may rarely develop worsening chest pain or a heart attack after starting this medication or increasing the dose. Get medical help right away if you experience: worsening chest pain, symptoms of a heart attack (such as chest/jaw/left arm pain, shortness of breath, unusual sweating).
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
In the US -
Before taking this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to other calcium channel blockers (e.g., felodipine, amlodipine); or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: heart problems (e.g., congestive heart failure, aortic stenosis), liver problems, kidney problems, a certain metabolic disorder (porphyria).
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist that you are taking this medication.
This drug may make you dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness until you are sure you can perform such activities safely. Limit alcoholic beverages.
Nifedipine passes into breast milk. While there have been no reports of harm to nursing infants, consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
See also How to Use section.
Your doctor or pharmacist may already be aware of any possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for them. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with your doctor or pharmacist first.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all prescription and nonprescription/herbal products you may use, especially of: alpha blockers (e.g., doxazosin), beta blockers (e.g., propranolol, metoprolol), calcium or magnesium sulfate received through a vein, digoxin, fentanyl, melatonin, quinidine, certain drugs that may weaken the immune system (e.g., sirolimus, tacrolimus), drugs affecting liver enzymes that remove nifedipine from your body (e.g., cimetidine, nefazodone, quinupristin/dalfopristin, St. John's wort, azole antifungals such as itraconazole, macrolide antibiotics such as erythromycin, rifamycins such as rifampin, anti-seizure medicines such as carbamazepine/phenytoin).
Check the labels on all your medicines (e.g., cough-and-cold products, diet aids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs-NSAIDs for pain/fever reduction) because they may contain ingredients that could increase your blood pressure or heart rate (e.g., pseudoephedrine, phenylephrine, chlorpheniramine, diphenhydramine, clemastine, ibuprofen, naproxen). Ask your pharmacist about using those products safely.
This document does not contain all possible interactions. Therefore, before using this product, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the products you use. Keep a list of all your medications with you, and share the list with your doctor and pharmacist.
If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: severe dizziness, fainting, fast/slow/irregular heartbeat.
Do not share this medication with others.
Lifestyle changes such as stress reduction programs, exercise, and dietary changes may increase the effectiveness of this medicine. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about lifestyle changes that might benefit you.
Laboratory and/or medical tests (e.g., liver or kidney function tests, EKG) may be performed from time to time to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.
Have your blood pressure checked regularly while taking this medication. Learn how to monitor your own blood pressure at home, and share the results with your doctor.
There are different tablet strengths of this medication available. Some tablet strengths may not be used in place of others. Do not change tablet strengths or use a different number of tablets for your dose without consulting your doctor or pharmacist.
Store at room temperature below 86 degrees F (30 degrees C) away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medicines away from children and pets.
MEDICAL ALERT: Your condition can cause complications in a medical emergency. For information about enrolling in MedicAlert, call 1-888-633-4298 (US) or 1-800-668-1507 (Canada).
Information last revised March 2013. Copyright(c) 2013 First Databank, Inc.
With WebMD's Medicine Cabinet, you can check interactions with drugs.Go to medicine cabinet