Felodipine, a calcium channel blocker sold under the brand name Plendil, is used to treat high blood pressure and chest pain. First approved for medical use in 1988, today felodipine is prescribed to millions of patients worldwide.
- How does felodipine work?
- What are the side effects of felodipine?
- What’s the right felodipine dosage for me?
- How much does felodipine cost?
- What are the generic and brand name versions of felodipine?
- Are there any warnings associated with felodipine?
- Amlodipine vs felodipine: what’s the difference?
- Is felodipine a beta-blocker?
- Is felodipine causing my knee pain?
1. How does felodipine work?
Felodipine belongs to a class of drugs known as calcium channel blockers. Therefore, it works in much the same way as other calcium channel blockers, by relaxing and widening blood vessels. This is achieved by blocking calcium from entering cells of the heart and arteries. Calcium causes the heart and arteries to contract strongly. As muscles are unable to contract without calcium, they are forced to relax. In turn, blood pressure is reduced along with the strain placed on your heart.
For patients taking felodipine to treat chest pain, it works similarly. Oftentimes chest pain is caused by arteries becoming too contracted around the heart. Felodipine helps to relax the arteries, allowing more oxygen reach the heart. This action alleviates chest pain.
2. What are the side effects of felodipine?
Felodipine can potentially cause side effects ranging from mild to severe. The list below includes some of the most common side effects but is not a complete list. Mild side effects may go away after a few days or weeks of consistent medication-taking, but if they persist or worsen, you should speak with your doctor.
Common side effects:
- Mild gum swelling
- Flushed feeling
- Swollen hands, feet, or arms
Serious side effects:
- Light-headedness, feeling as if you might pass out
- Chest pain
- Rapid and unexplained weight gain
- Unusual shortness of breath
In some rare cases, patients can experience allergic reactions. Seek emergency medical care if you experience any of the following symptoms after taking felodipine.
- Skin rash
- Tightness in the throat or chest
- Difficulty talking or breathing
- Swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
3. What’s the right felodipine dosage for me?
The proper dosage of felodipine will vary between patients and is based on several factors. You should always follow your doctor’s instructions or the directions on the label. That said, a standard dosage for adults treating high blood pressure is between 2.5-5mg daily for an initial dose. A maintenance dose of between 2.5-10mg daily is given depending on the patient's response to the initial dose.
4. How much does felodipine cost?
The cost of felodipine will vary based on the insurance coverage and location of individual patients. The list price is typically between $40 and $50 for a supply of 90 pills. Since the daily dosing requirements of patients will vary, it’s impossible to give an accurate estimate of what you could expect to spend on the drug each month.
5. What are the generic and brand name versions of felodipine?
Felodipine is sold under a wide range of brand names including Cabren, Cardioplen XL, Felendil XL, Felogen XL, Felotens XL, Keloc SR, Neofel XL, Plendil, Renedil, and Vacalpha. Outside of these brand names, felodipine is also sold as a generic product, which is often cheaper than brand names.
6. Are there any warnings associated with felodipine?
The most important thing to be aware of when taking felodipine is drug interactions. This is especially true if you’re currently taking any drugs that affect how your body metabolizes felodipine. This can include anti-seizure meds, azole antifungals, and CYP 3A4 substrates, among others. Due to the wide range of possible interactions, you must speak with your doctor about any medications or supplements you are taking.
7. Amlodipine vs felodipine: what’s the difference?
Since amlodipine and felodipine are often used to treat similar conditions and are both calcium channel blockers, commonly, patients wonder about the difference between the two. Generally, they are very similar and patients may be switched from one to the other if treatment has not been effective. For patients with kidney disease, dosage adjustments will be need for felodipine but not with amlodipine. Some studies have also suggested that felodipine is less effective in similar doses and causes more side effects.
8. Is felodipine a beta-blocker?
Felodipine is not a beta-blocker. Felodipine is a calcium channel blocker, a class of drugs that are often used to treat similar conditions but through a different mechanism. While beta-blockers work by blocking certain hormones and impulses, calcium channel blockers work by dilating the arteries.
9. Is felodipine causing my knee pain?
If you’ve noticed knee pain after taking felodipine, the drug may be the cause. Joint pain is a relatively common side effect, and knee pain is reported frequently by patients. That said, if the pain is severe, or doesn’t go away, you should speak with your doctor.
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