Felodipine is a calcium channel blocker used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension).
Felodipine is also used to prevent chest pain caused by heart disease (angina).
Felodipine lowers your blood pressure and makes it easier for your heart to pump blood around your body.
This medicine is only available on prescription. It comes as slow release tablets.
Who can take felodipine
Most adults aged 18 and over can take felodipine.
Felodipine is not suitable for some people. To make sure it's safe for you, tell your doctor if you:
- have ever had an allergic reaction to felodipine or any other medicine
- are trying to get pregnant, are already pregnant or if you are breastfeeding
- have heart failure or heart disease or you've recently had a heart attack
- have new chest pain or chest pain that lasts longer or is more severe than usual
- have liver problems
Older people usually start on a lower dose of 2.5mg once a day.
If the starting dose is not working well enough, your doctor may increase it to 10mg a day.
If you have side effects or your blood pressure goes too low, your doctor may lower your dose to 2.5mg a day.
You'll usually take felodipine once a day in the morning. It's best to take it on an empty stomach or after a light meal or snack that is not too fatty or starchy.
Swallow the tablets whole with a drink of water. Do not break, crush or chew them. Talk to your pharmacist or doctor if you have problems swallowing them.
Do not eat or drink grapefruit or grapefruit juice while you're taking this medicine. Grapefruit juice can make side effects worse.
How long to take it for
Usually, treatment with felodipine is long term, even for the rest of your life.
If you forget to take it
If you forget a dose of felodipine, just take your next dose at the usual time the next day.
Do not take 2 doses to make up for a forgotten one.
If you often forget doses, it may help to set an alarm to remind you. You could also ask your pharmacist for advice on other ways to help you remember to take your medicine.
An overdose of felodipine can make you feel sick (nausea), dizzy and sleepy.
The amount of felodipine that can lead to an overdose varies from person to person.
- you take more than your prescribed dose of felodipine
If you need to go to A&E, do not drive yourself. Get someone else to drive you or call for an ambulance.
Take the felodipine box, or the leaflet inside the packet, plus any remaining medicine with you.
Talk to your doctor if you want to stop taking felodipine.
Stopping felodipine may cause your blood pressure to rise, and this may increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.
If you are taking it for angina, stopping it will make it more likely you will have more angina attacks.
If you're bothered by side effects, your doctor may be able to prescribe you a different medicine.
Take felodipine even if you feel well, as you will still be getting the benefits of the medicine.
Common side effects
These common side effects of felodipine happen in more than 1 in 100 people. They are usually mild and only last for a short time. There are things you can do to help cope with them:
Speak to a doctor or pharmacist if the advice on how to cope does not help and a side effect is still bothering you or does not go away.
Serious side effects of felodipine are rare and happen in less than 1 in 1,000 people.
- you get chest pain that does not stop after a few minutes or is new or worse if you already have angina
Chest pain is a possible sign of a heart attack and needs to be checked out as soon as possible.
In rare cases, it's possible to have a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to felodipine.
These are not all the side effects of felodipine. For a full list, see the leaflet inside your medicines packet
Felodipine and pregnancy
Felodipine can be taken during pregnancy, although it's not commonly used.
If you're taking felodipine to treat high blood pressure you will usually be switched to a different medicine if you are pregnant.
If you are taking felodipine for angina or heart rhythm problems then you should have a review within an antenatal clinic with a pregnancy specialist (obstetrician) and heart specialist (cardiologist).
Keep taking felodipine until you have had your review.
If your doctor or midwife says your baby is healthy you can take felodipine while you are breastfeeding.
It's not known how much felodipine gets into breast milk, but it's likely to be a small amount which is unlikely to harm your baby.
If you are breastfeeding, or planning to breastfeed, talk to your doctor or pharmacist as other medicines might be better, but it's important you take the medicine that works for you.
If you notice that your baby is not feeding as well as usual, seems unusually sleepy, or seems much paler than usual, or if you have any other concerns about your baby, then talk to your health visitor, midwife, pharmacist or doctor as soon as possible.
Felodipine and fertility
There's no evidence to suggest that taking felodipine reduces fertility in either men or women.
However, speak to a pharmacist or your doctor if you're trying for a baby as they may wish to change your medicine before you become pregnant.
Cautions with other medicines
If you take other medicines that lower blood pressure with felodipine, the combination can sometimes lower your blood pressure too much. This may make you feel dizzy or faint. If this keeps happening to you, tell your doctor as your dose may need to be changed.
Some medicines can affect the way felodipine works.
Tell your doctor if you're taking any of these medicines before starting felodipine:
- anti-epilepsy medicines such as carbamazepine, phenytoin, phenobarbital (phenobarbitone) or primidone
- antibiotics such as clarithromycin, erythromycin or rifampicin
- itraconazole, an antifungal
- medicines for HIV or hepatitis C virus
- medicines to reduce immune reactions such as ciclosporin or tacrolimus
St John's wort, a herbal remedy taken for depression, is thought to affect the way felodipine works. Talk to your doctor if you're thinking about taking St John's wort.
There's not enough information to say that other herbal remedies and complementary medicines are safe to take with felodipine. They're not tested in the same way as pharmacy and prescription medicines. They're generally not tested for the effect they have on other medicines.
HealthUnlocked contains information from NHS Digital, licensed under the current version of the Open Government Licence