馃拪 Amlodipine. My legs are swollen. What does that mean?

Let me tell you the most relevant facts about this central drug in the treatment of arterial hypertension.

5/28/20242 min read

馃拪 Amlodipine is a central drug in cardiovascular therapeutics. Like nifedipine, it belongs to the family of dihydropyridine calcium channel blockers. This means it primarily causes peripheral arterial vasodilation without directly affecting the heart, unlike Diltiazem and Verapamil (known as non-dihydropyridines). I recently wrote about nifedipine in this article: https://www.drcaroli.com/en/nifedipine-is-it-a-good-drug-for-hypertension

Amlodipine was designed and created in the 1980s by the German laboratory Pfizer, and the FDA granted its approval for entry into the U.S. market in 1992. Since then, it has been a drug that has not stopped achieving success. It has demonstrated great antihypertensive efficacy compared to very popular drugs like Losartan and Valsartan, and its combined treatment has shown enormous potency.

Some notable characteristics beyond its efficacy are its great safety since it can be administered to patients with heart failure or cardiopathies with ventricular dysfunction, renal insufficiency, and during pregnancy. It also has lesser-known anti-atherogenic and anti-anginal properties, demonstrated in the CAMELOT study.

What are its adverse effects and what do they mean? Perhaps the most common and concerning for the patient are edema in the legs or ankles. This generally occurs with doses of 10 mg in about 20% of patients and often resolves or improves when the dose is reduced to 5 mg. But what does having edema mean? In this case, it basically means that the drug is doing its job correctly. The vasodilation generated by the drug also occurs in the blood vessels of the legs, increasing fluid transudation to the skin and causing edema. It is not dangerous at all, but it is bothersome. The good news is that it is reversible by reducing the dose or discontinuing the drug, and if continuation of the drug is necessary, it can be corrected and optimized with the rest of the treatment.

馃┖ Of course, it is important for each patient to consult their cardiologist to review in detail and obtain the best treatment for their cardiovascular condition.

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