Take lercanidipine once a day, preferably in the morning. You should take the tablet about 30 minutes before you eat.
Do not drink grapefruit juice whilst you are on lercanidipine. It can interact with the medicine and alter its effect.When you first start lercanidipine you may get headache, feel flushed, or feel dizzy. These effects are usually mild and only last for a few days.
|Type of medicine||A calcium-channel blocker|
|Used for||High blood pressure|
Lercanidipine is prescribed to treat high blood pressure (hypertension). Although people with high blood pressure often do not feel unwell, if left untreated, high blood pressure can harm the heart and damage blood vessels, and could lead to a heart attack or stroke.
Lercanidipine is known as a calcium-channel blocker because it works by affecting the way calcium passes into certain muscle cells in your blood vessels. The muscle cells need calcium to contract. Lacidipine reduces the amount of calcium that goes into these muscle cells. This causes the muscle cells to relax, which widens your blood vessels and lowers your blood pressure.
Before taking lercanidipine
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine can only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking lercanidipine it is important that your doctor knows:
- If you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
- If you have any problems with the way your liver works, or any problems with the way your kidneys work.
- If you have a heart condition, or angina chest pain, or if you have recently had a heart attack.
- If you have a rare inherited 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, as well as herbal and complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
How to take lercanidipine
- Before you start the treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. It will give you more information about lercanidipine, and will also provide you with a full list of the side-effects which you could experience from taking it.
- Lercanidipine is available in two strengths of tablet - 10 mg and 20 mg. The usual starting dose is 10 mg daily. If it becomes necessary, your doctor will increase your dose after a few weeks to 20 mg daily. Take the tablets exactly as your doctor tells you to.
- It is likely that you will be advised to take your dose in the morning before breakfast. Try to take your doses at the same time each day. Having a routine will help you to remember to take your doses regularly.
- Swallow the tablet with a drink of water. You should take lercanidipine when your stomach is empty, so about 30 minutes before a meal. This is because fatty food can increase the amount of lercanidipine your body absorbs, which could then lead to you experiencing side-effects.
- If you forget to take a dose at your usual time, take it 30 minutes before your next meal. If you do not remember until the following day, leave out the missed dose. Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Try 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 lercanidipine. This is because a substance in grapefruit juice increases the amount of lercanidipine in your bloodstream and this increases the risk of side-effects.
- If you drink alcohol, ask your doctor for advice. Your doctor may recommend that you do not drink alcohol while you are on lercanidipine as the chance of side-effects (such as feeling dizzy and light-headed) is increased.
- If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are suitable for you to take alongside your prescribed medicines. This is because a number of medicines can interfere with lercanidipine and so may not be recommended for you.
- If you are due to have an operation or any dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment that you are taking lercanidipine tablets. Lercanidipine and some anaesthetics can interact, meaning that unwanted effects can be more likely.
- Treatment with lercanidipine is usually long-term. Continue to take the tablets unless you are advised otherwise by your doctor. If it becomes necessary for you to stop treatment, your doctor may want you to reduce your dose gradually over a few days, as stopping taking lercanidipine suddenly can cause problems.
Can lercanidipine 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 ones associated with lercanidipine. 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.
|Lercanidipine side-effects (these affect less than 1 in 100 people)||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Headache||This usually soon passes, but you can ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller in the meantime|
|Feeling dizzy||If this happens, do not drive or use tools or machines until you feel better|
|Swollen ankles, feeling flushed, being aware of your heartbeat, a fast heartbeat||Speak with your doctor about these if any become troublesome or continue beyond a few days|
Important: if you have any chest pain after taking lercanidipine, contact your doctor for advice straightaway.
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 lercanidipine
- 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 at once. 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, Zanidip® 10 mg and 20 mg tablets; Recordati Pharmaceuticals Limited, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated November 2008.
- British National Formulary; 71st Edition (Mar-Sep 2016) 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.
Prof Cathy Jackson