What Are the Effects of Combining Telmisartan and Amlodipine?

B. Chisholm
B. Chisholm

The telmisartan and amlodipine drug combination is used to treat hypertension. Both telmisartan and amlodipine, when used alone, lower the blood pressure, by different mechanisms. In some cases of hypertension, one blood pressure-lowering drug is not sufficient so dual, and sometimes triple or more, therapy is required. A single tablet containing both drugs allows for easier administration.

Hypertension is one of the most common medical conditions worldwide and affects a vast proportion of the population, especially as they get older. It refers to high blood pressure, which may be caused by numerous factors including build up of plaque in the blood vessels due to high cholesterol and other extrinsic factors such as stress. The first step to reducing high blood pressure is a change in lifestyle which includes improved diet, weight loss, exercise, stopping smoking and reducing stress. This, however, is often not sufficient to lower blood pressure to a safe level. Ongoing high blood pressure can have long term effects such as organ damage, heart attacks and stroke.

While telmisartan and amlodipine can both lower blood pressure alone, they do it by acting at different places in the body. Telmisartan is an angiotensin II receptor blocker, that works by blocking specific receptors and lessening the effect of angiotensin II. This allows dilation or widening of the blood vessels, allowing blood to more freely flow. It also reduces the action of aldosterone which, essentially, decreases the amount of fluid in the blood vessels.

Amlodipine belongs to the class of antihypertensives called calcium channel blockers. They decrease the flow of calcium, which decreases the amount of contraction of the muscle of the blood vessels. By dilating the vessels, blood flow is made easier and the blood pressure is lowered.

The combination of telmisartan and amlodipine will be prescribed by a doctor and the prescribed directions should be followed closely. The usual dose is one tablet daily but this may differ according to each patient's tolerance and response. Each tablet usually contains 40 mg telmisartan and 5 mg amlodipine, although combinations and trade names may differ by country and manufacturer.

As with any medication, interactions may occur between telmisartan and amlodipine and other drugs. It is essential that any other medications, including over-the-counter, homeopathic and complementary drugs are discussed with the prescribing doctor before initiating treatment. Pregnancy, desired pregnancy and lactation should also be discussed.

Telmisartan and amlodipine treatment may cause unwanted adverse effects. These may include bloating, nausea, headache and postural hypotension or dizziness. Should any adverse effect occur, it should be discussed with the prescribing doctor.

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