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What Is Felodipine?

Allison Boelcke
By Allison Boelcke
Updated May 17, 2024
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Felodipine is a type of medication known as a calcium channel blocker. It is primarily used for the treatment of hypertension, more commonly referred to as high blood pressure, a condition in which there is an increased amount of tension and force in the blood vessels as blood pumped from the when the heart travels throughout the body. High blood pressure can prevent blood from being effectively transported throughout and body and prevent organs from receiving the oxygen they need. Calcium channel blocker medications, along with lifestyle changes, are often recommended for people with high blood pressure to prevent serious complications, like heart attack, stroke, or kidney failure.

Calcium channel blocker medications like felodipine are thought to work at treating high blood pressure by helping the muscles of the heart, along with the blood vessels themselves, relax and become less tense. By reducing the tension in the blood vessels, the heart does not have to work as hard to get blood to move throughout the body. Although this type of medication can help temporarily treat high blood pressure, it does not actually cure it; therefore, doctors usually advise patients to never stop taking the medication without medical supervision because complications of high blood pressure could immediately return.

This medication is generally available in a tablet form to be taken by mouth, usually once per day. The tablet is often an extended release; therefore, it cannot be crushed or broken before being swallowed because too much of the active ingredients could be released into the body at one time.

Felodipine has been found to cause certain side effects. Some of the most common side effects include feelings of weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, increased heartbeat, and swelling of the gums. These effects are generally not considered to be serious and medical attention is usually only recommended if they become severe. Other serious side effects can occur and emergency medical attention is generally advised. These include difficulty breathing, sudden chest pain, swelling of the face, tongue, or limbs, or loss of consciousness.

Complications can occur when taking felodipine at the same time as other medications, supplements, or products. Consuming grapefruit, grapefruit juice, or other products containing grapefruit can cause dangerous amounts of the medication to build up in the bloodstream instead of being absorbed by the body. This interaction is thought to be caused by an enzyme found in grapefruit. Drinking alcohol while taking the medication may also cause potentially serious complications because alcohol may also lower blood pressure, along with the medication, and prevent enough blood from pumping throughout the body.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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