Benazepril and amlodipine are prescription medications that can be used to treat various conditions but are primarily used in combination to control high blood pressure, or hypertension. Although they are often used together and even can come in a combined form, benazepril and amlodipine also can be prescribed independently of the other. When benazepril and amlodipine are combined as a single drug, they provide the benefits of an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor and a calcium channel blocker. Together, they help prevent heart attacks, kidney problems and strokes by lowering blood pressure.
Benazepril is classified as an ACE inhibitor. When the body converts angiotensin I to angiotensin II, it ultimately causes blood vessels to tighten. Benazepril and other ACE inhibitors prevent this conversion from taking place, which causes the blood vessels to relax. The relaxation of blood vessels allows them to widen, which increases oxygen and blood supplies to the heart, prevents the body from retaining water and reduces blood pressure. The uses for benazepril include the treatment of high blood pressure, migraines, scleroderma, congestive heart failure, kidney disease and heart attacks.
Amlodipine is in a class of drugs called calcium channel blockers or calcium-antagonists. Even though the body needs calcium to function properly, amlodipine regulates calcium in the bloodstream as opposed to affecting calcium in the bones. The calcium in the bloodstream impacts the rate of muscle contractions in the heart. As calcium levels increase in the bloodstream, more calcium is absorbed through the cells of the cardiac muscles, which produces more heart muscle contractions.
Calcium channel blockers such as amlodipine reduce the amount of calcium that is absorbed in the heart and blood vessel walls. As a result, the blood vessels relax, which allows oxygen and blood to flow more freely to the heart. One byproduct of this is a reduction in blood pressure. In addition to lowering blood pressure, amlodipine is used to treat angina, abnormal heart rhythms and Raynaud's phenomenon.
Some of the side effects of benazepril and amlodipine include fatigue, dizziness, lightheadedness and dry cough. These symptoms gradually decrease as the person's body adjusts to the medication. More serious side effects include fainting, changes in color and amount of urine and swelling of the hands, tongue, ankles and feet. Side effects also can include yellowing skin or eyes and persistent nausea. Patients can contact a doctor or pharmacist for additional information, including a complete list of possible side effects.