Take two 30 mg nimodipine tablets every four hours unless your doctor has told you otherwise.
The course of treatment will last for 21 days in total. This includes the time you have had nimodipine by injection.
Do not drink grapefruit juice while you are on nimodipine.
|Type of medicine||A calcium-channel blocker|
|Used for||Prevention of problems after a subarachnoid haemorrhage|
Subarachnoid haemorrhage is bleeding around the brain. It is usually the result of bleeding from an aneurysm, which is an area of weakness in a blood vessel wall. The weakness allows the blood vessel to bulge, and this can then rupture and bleed.
Nimodipine works by causing blood vessels in your head to relax. This helps to prevent spasm in the blood vessels and reduces the risk of damage caused by insufficient blood flow to the brain after the bleeding.
Before taking nimodipine
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking nimodipine it is important that your doctor knows:
- If you have any heart problems such as angina, or if you have had a heart attack recently.
- If you have problems with the way your liver works or the way your kidneys work.
- If you have low blood pressure.
- If you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
- If you have a rare blood disorder called porphyria.
- If you are taking or using any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
How to take nimodipine
- Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. It will give you more information about nimodipine and will also provide you with a full list of the side-effects which you may experience from taking it.
- Take nimodipine exactly as your doctor tells you to. It is usual to be prescribed two 30 mg tablets to take every four hours. The dose will be printed on the label of the pack to remind you of what your doctor said.
- Swallow the tablet with a drink of water. You can take nimodipine either before or after food.
- If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember and then continue to take two tablets every four hours as before. It is important that you leave four hours between each dose.
- A course of treatment lasts for 21 days in total. This includes the time you have been given nimodipine as an injection while in hospital.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Remember to keep your regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can check on your progress.
- Do not drink grapefruit juice while you are on nimodipine. This is because a chemical in grapefruit juice can increase the amount of nimodipine in your bloodstream and this increases the risk of side-effects. This effect can last for at least four days.
- If you drink alcohol, ask your doctor for advice. Your doctor may recommend that you do not drink alcohol while you are on this medicine, as it may increase the chance that you experience side-effects, such as feeling dizzy or light-headed.
- If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are suitable to take with your other medicines.
- If you need to have an operation or any medical treatment, remember to tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking. Nimodipine and some anaesthetics can interact, meaning that unwanted effects are more likely.
Can nimodipine cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the most common ones associated with nimodipine. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with your medicine. The unwanted effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.
|Nimodipine side-effects (these affect less than 1 in 100 people)||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Headache, feeling hot and flushed||If the headache continues or is severe, speak with your doctor|
|Feeling dizzy or light-headed||Do not drive or use tools or machines until you feel better|
|Feeling sick||Stick to simple foods - avoid rich or spicy meals|
|Skin rash, allergic reactions, slow or fast heartbeat||If troublesome, speak with your doctor|
Important: if you experience any unusual or unexplained bleeding or bruising, speak with your doctor straightaway. This could be caused by a reduced number of platelets in your blood, which is a rare side-effect of nimodipine.
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to the tablets, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for further advice.
How to store nimodipine
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.
Further reading & references
- Manufacturer's PIL, Nimotop® 30 mg Tablets; Bayer plc, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated October 2012.
- British National Formulary; 67th Edition (March 2014) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.
Dr Adrian Bonsall