Nicardipine is used with or without other medications to treat high blood pressure (hypertension). Lowering high blood pressure helps prevent strokes, heart attacks, and kidney problems. Nicardipine is called a calcium channel blocker. 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 to prevent 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 (such as sublingual nitroglycerin) to relieve attacks of chest pain as directed by your doctor. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for details.
Take this medication by mouth, usually twice daily with or without food or as directed by your doctor. Swallow the capsules whole. Do not crush, chew, or break the capsules. Doing so can release all of the drug at once and may increase side effects.
The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. Your doctor may gradually increase your dose. Follow your doctor's instructions carefully.
Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same times 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.
Tell your doctor if your condition persists or worsens (for example, your routine blood pressure readings remain high or increase, your chest pain worsens or is more frequent).
To reduce dizziness and lightheadedness, get up slowly when rising from a sitting or lying position.
Tell your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: fainting, fast/irregular/pounding heartbeat.
Tell your doctor immediately if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur: vision changes.
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 nicardipine, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; 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.
This medication should not be used if you have a certain medical condition. Before using this medicine, consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have: a certain structural heart problem (aortic stenosis).
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.
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
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: cyclosporine.
Other medications can affect the removal of nicardipine from your body, which may affect how nicardipine works. Examples include cimetidine, azole antifungals (such as itraconazole), macrolide antibiotics (such as erythromycin), rifamycins (such as rifabutin), St. John's wort, drugs used to treat seizures (such as carbamazepine, phenytoin), among others.
Check the labels on all your medicines (such as cough-and-cold products, diet aids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs-NSAIDs for pain/fever) because they may contain ingredients that could increase your blood pressure or heart rate (such as pseudoephedrine, phenylephrine, ibuprofen, naproxen). Ask your pharmacist about using these products safely.
Cimetidine is a nonprescription drug that is commonly used to treat extra stomach acid. Because cimetidine may interact with nicardipine, ask your pharmacist about other products to treat stomach acid.
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.
Do not share this medication with others. Talk with your doctor about making changes to your lifestyle that may help this medication work better (such as stress reduction programs, exercise, and dietary changes).
Laboratory and/or medical tests (such as liver function tests, blood pressure, electrocardiograms) may be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.
Check your blood pressure regularly while taking this medication, especially when you first start this drug or when your dose is changed. Learn how to monitor your own blood pressure at home, and share the results with your doctor.
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Store at room temperature between 59-86 degrees F (15-30 degrees C) away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medicines away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company for more details about how to safely discard your product.
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