This medication is used to prevent certain types of chest pain (angina). It may allow you to exercise more and decrease the frequency of angina attacks. Nifedipine belongs to a class of medications known as calcium channel blockers. It works by relaxing blood vessels so blood can flow more easily. 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.
Older adults should discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with their doctor or pharmacist, as well as other possibly safer forms of nifedipine (such as the long-acting tablets).
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 treat a certain blood circulation disorder (Raynaud's syndrome).
Take this medication by mouth, usually 3 times daily with or without food or as directed by your doctor. Swallow this medication whole. Do not crush, chew, or break the capsule.
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.
Avoid eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice while taking this medication unless your doctor instructs you otherwise. Grapefruit can increase the amount of certain medications in your bloodstream. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.
Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same times each day.
Tell your doctor if your condition worsens (for example, your chest pain worsens or is more frequent).
To reduce dizziness and lightheadedness, get up slowly when rising from a sitting or lying position.
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.
Tell your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: fast/irregular/pounding heartbeat, fainting.
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 this medication, 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: certain heart problems (such as congestive heart failure, 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.
Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially dizziness, constipation, or swelling ankles/feet.
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
See also the How to Use section.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
Other medications can affect the removal of nifedipine from your body, which may affect how nifedipine works. Examples include cimetidine, rifamycins (such as rifabutin), St. John's wort, drugs used to treat seizures (such as carbamazepine), among others.
Check the labels on all your medicines (such as cough-and-cold products, diet aids) because they may contain ingredients that could increase your heart rate and worsen chest pain (including caffeine, pseudoephedrine, phenylephrine). 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 nifedipine, ask your pharmacist about other products to treat extra stomach acid.
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.
Laboratory and/or medical tests (such as blood pressure, liver/kidney tests, electrocardiogram) may be performed from time to time to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.
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 59-77 degrees F (15-25 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 2015. Copyright(c) 2015 First Databank, Inc.
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