Exforge HCT (Generic Amlodipine)
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Why is this medication prescribed?
Amlodipine is used alone or in combination with other medications to treat high blood pressure and chest pain (angina). Amlodipine is in a class of medications called calcium channel blockers. It lowers blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels so the heart does not have to pump as hard. It controls chest pain by increasing the supply of blood to the heart. If taken regularly, amlodipine controls chest pain, but it does not stop chest pain once it starts. Your doctor may prescribe a different medication to take when you have chest pain.
High blood pressure is a common condition and when not treated, can cause damage to the brain, heart, blood vessels, kidneys and other parts of the body. Damage to these organs may cause heart disease, a heart attack, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure, loss of vision, and other problems. In addition to taking medication, making lifestyle changes will also help to control your blood pressure. These changes include eating a diet that is low in fat and salt, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising at least 30 minutes most days, not smoking, and using alcohol in moderation.
How should this medicine be used?
Amlodipine comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken once a day. To help you remember to take amlodipine, take it around the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take amlodipine exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Your doctor will probably start you on a low dose of amlodipine and gradually increase your dose.
Amlodipine controls high blood pressure and chest pain (angina) but does not cure them. Continue to take amlodipine even if you feel well. Do not stop taking amlodipine without talking to your doctor.
Other uses for this medicine
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking amlodipine,
- Tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to amlodipine, any other medications, or any ingredients in amlodipine tablets. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
- Tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: certain medications for seizures such as carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Equetro, Tegretol), phenytoin (Dilantin, Phenytek), and phenobarbital; clarithromycin (Biaxin, in Prevpac); cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune); efavirenz (Sustiva); indinavir (Crixivan); itraconazole (Onmel, Sporanox); ketoconazole (Nizoral); lovastatin (Altoprev, in Advicor); nefazodone;nelfinavir (Viracept); nevirapine (Viramune); rifabutin (Mycobutin); rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane, in Rifamate), ritonavir (Norvir, in Kaletra), simvastatin (Zocor, in Simcor, in Vytorin), and tacrolimus (Astragraf SL, Prograf). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had heart failure or heart or liver disease.
- Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking amlodipine, call your doctor.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
If your doctor prescribes a low-salt or low-sodium diet, follow these directions carefully.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Amlodipine may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- Swelling of the hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- Upset stomach
- Stomach pain
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Excessive tiredness
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment:
- More frequent or more severe chest pain
- Rapid, pounding, or irregular heartbeat
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).
It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. http://www.upandaway.org
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA’s Safe Disposal of Medicines website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can’t be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.
Symptoms of overdose may include:
- Rapid heartbeat
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor. Your blood pressure should be checked regularly to determine your response to amlodipine.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.