Amlodipine and Atrial Fibrillation?

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I am 45 years old and I have been on 5mg amlodipine for about 2 years for a blood pressure that tends to spike. I was first on Lisinopril and then Valsartan though I had to stop those medications within a few weeks of starting due to tachycardia/palpatations which prevented me from walking any significant distance at one point.

During my time on amlodipine, I commented to my GP about a fluttery/thumpy heartbeat. These were first diagnosed as ectopic beats and reasonably common. Time has moved on and (to make a long story short) a cardiologist has now diagnosed atrial fibrillation (AF). ECGs taken previous to starting any blood pressure medicine as part of routine health exams were normal.

I would be very grateful for any similar experiences anyone has had regarding a suspicion that calcium channel blockers like amlodipine led to an Atrial fibrillation/Atrial flutter diagnosis or even an increased awareness of an arrhythmia in your heart rate.

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  • Posted

    [color=blue:130a8ec684][size=12:130a8ec684]Hi, yes, I can relate to what you are going through. I have been on amlodipine for around six years now, and have gradually developed an extremely irregular heartbeat. I get flutters and thumps hundreds and hundreds of times a day.

    I have tried to put up with them, but it's getting to the point where it is impossible to do that any more, and I know I have got to go and get this sorted out. I'm frightened of having a heart attack to be honest. I suspect amlodipine, as I have had horrible side effects from other blood pressure medications before, but I am extremely wary of telling my doctor that I think it's amlodipine, as one doctor previously was rather nasty with me, saying it wasn't any of my meds causing my problems, it was me imagining my symptoms! I had to change my doctor, as I couldn't trust her any more, but I am now frightened to say anything to my new one. What a position to be in.....frightened of your own doctor :roll:

    However, having read your post, I am more certain it is that that is causing my heartbeat irregularities, so I am going to pluck up the courage to say something. And even if it isn't that, it still needs sorting out, it isn't right at all.

    Have your doctor and consultant accepted the role of amlodipine in your atrial fibrillation? If so, are they changing it for something else? I'd be interested to know, thank you. And good luck, I hope you feel better soon[/size:130a8ec684][/color:130a8ec684]

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    • Posted

      I am having the same problems but I take 10 MG a day and this has just started in the last month  I have been taking the drug for two years but my pulse rate is up to 104 today is was down to 98 and my blood pressure was almost normal, it is still hypertensive but my chest hurts and it has started to hurt in the mornings when I take the medicine the pain goes away a for a while but then starts up again I was taking four MG of Clonazepam for three years but they are trying to ween me off North Carolina must have some deal with the Pharmaceutical companies they are trying to stop Benzo use It has helped me with stress and the tremors i have had since I was young but no one ever dealt with it then I am 61 years old and it is scary. trying to detox from benzos makes your heart beat faster too.

       

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  • Posted

    Hi- Thanks for the reply. My cardiologist was equally as reluctant to entertain my question that amlodipine might cause irregularities. His line of reasoning is based on the catchall that hypertension is said to \"cause\" irregularities like atrial fibrillation so linking it to amlodipine is circumstantial. I have read around many sources which do indicate that palpations and irregularties are side effects of amlodipine though at a level of perhaps 1 in 1000. Whether this means a more or less constant irregularity or one that comes and goes is not clear. Over the past month, I have cut out stimulants like coffee, soft drinks, and chocolate. I have significantly increased my water intake. I have also reduced my amlodipine from 5mg to 2.5mg after chatting with my GP. I have noticed a slight improvement in the irregularities without an increase in my blood pressure. An alternative plan will be to move to a beta blocker.

    I understand what you are saying regarding what you say to your doctor in the half chance that they will go into hyper defensive mode. I walk a thin line there as I try to gather as much information as I can in an attempt to develop a big picture without burning bridges. A balance needs to be struck with GPs. There is their experience on one hand but equally so there is the fact that you are the best source of information regarding how your body is responding to pills and other forms of treatment even if it goes against current thoughts. I am glad you are going to discuss your irregularity with your GP and I do hope the new one is a bit more open minded. The tension it is causing you can not be helping the situation.

    I will keep posting here as I gather new information from both my GP and my cardiologist.

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    • Posted

      I agree they all go into defense mode.  I had a heart stent placed. I feel worse than before.  I have chest pains, pain behind shoulder  and my bp goes up.  They say its not my heart. Amlodipine has alot of side effects, so does Losartin, and Lisapril they both bring on severe coughing. All I ever heard was but your alive and take the lastest and greatest. 
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    • Posted

      I told my doctor that I would not take a drug to shrink my prostate and he did say Amalopine was more dangerous he did noe elaborate I have been taking herbal supplments for my prostate problems the drug to shrink it caused ED and could cause prostate cancer.

       

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  • Posted

    [color=blue:79464ac4c4]Hi again, yes please keep posting as you find out more things of interest.

    I can never be 100% certain it is the amlodipine causing me so many problems, as I find that a pattern seems to be emerging. I find that the skipped heartbeats lessen around four hours after I have taken my medication for an hour or two, then gradually increase until it is time to take my next dose. So whether it is the tablets causing it all, or whether my blood pressure is rising as the effect of the dose is wearing off it's hard to say. I don't feel that amlodipine gives me good 24 hour cover. If it's my bp causing these heartbeat irregularities I'm very concerned. But I've had awful side effects from other meds. Propranolol gave me 24/7 stomach problems, and I used to literally hallucinate at night, seeing things coming out of the walls etc. Lisinopril was fine at first, then when my dose was raised from 5mg to 10mg I started to feel dreadful an hour or so after taking the tablet. Pounding heart, sweating, red face, feeling faint. I would have to lie down for two hours. Impossible to live with. Olmesartan had similar effects. I was at my wit's end. This is when my doctor got fed up with me and accused me of exaggerating things. It's so frustrating :cry: Do you have any other side effects from amlodipine other than the possible link to your heart irregularities?

    I was also, along with my amlodipine 5mg, on doxazosin 4mg, which made me feel as if my head was bursting. I've managed to come down to 1mg as I've lost a lot of weight recently, but I still don't know if they are giving me some problems. It's so hard to know what's causing what :roll:

    Anyway, sorry for going on. As I say, I will be reading your posts with interest, and seeing my doctor too to try and sort this out once and for all.[/color:79464ac4c4]

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  • Posted

    Hi- I would say that amlodipine also caused a bit of lethargy but the heart thumps are the most noticeable side effect for me.

    My mother also took amlodipine for awhile but it caused severe constipation so she came off of that. She is now on the beta blocker atenolol. The constipation for her went away soon after quitting the amlodipine. She also noticed that a very small dose of atenolol reduces her heart rate from an average of 90 to around 60.

    I am chatting with my GP this week. My guess is that with the diagnosis of AF, there will be a push to put me on propanolol though I will tread very careful in light of the side effects you mention. How much propanolol where you taking on a daily basis?

    Good luck with your GP.

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    • Posted

      Forget propranolol, dangerous drug, serious cardiovascular side effects, some permanent.  Caused palps and bradycardia in me after only one month and fairly low dose.  Heart rate is still very low after one month of being of the stuff.  If you've had other cardio side effects don't go near this non selctive beta blocker it's lethal.  All BB are dangerous but this one particularly so.
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  • Posted

    [color=blue:df52387c7c]I have been on different doses of propranolol...as low as 40mg some years ago, along with the other med I was on at the time, lisinopril I think, and I had problems with the 'seeing things' in the night. It was usually just before I fell asleep, and I would wake several times in the night with the same problem. Very scary.

    Then about 18 months ago I was on 120mg, when I was taken off 10mg amlodipine because my legs were constantly swollen. The hallucinations returned big time, and I then got the stomach problems. Tummy ache and permanent diarrhoea rather than constipation. Lovely. sad So....I had to come off them, and I was put back onto 5mg amlodipine and 4mg doxazosin. It was after this that I developed the irregular heartbeat. I also feel extremely tired, and very detached from things, as if I am in a dream. I'm just fed up of feeling very old :roll:[/color:df52387c7c]

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  • Posted

    My GP agrees that propranolol now has too much evidence linking it to nightmares and hallucinations as you say. So we have agreed to come off the amlodipine and go onto the beta blocker Bisoprolol. Perhaps I am trading one set of issues for another, but I welcome the opportunity to at least postpone the amlodipine. I haven't done much reading up on alpha blocker doxazosin. Has this choice of an alpha over a beta been explained to you ?
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  • Posted

    [color=blue:01972e08a9]The doctor who put me onto doxazosin was the first one I had seen at the new surgery after I changed doctors. At the time I was on 120mg of propranolol and desperately needed to come off them due to the side effects. All she said was that she had few options due to my insistence of previous bad side effects from other medications, and alpha blockers were pretty much the last thing left on the list. Although, she did say she felt that beta blockers 'don't work'. I think there are a growing number of gp's who are turning against beta blockers, and she is obviously one of them. So...it wasn't so much a positive move forward as a clutching at straws [/color:01972e08a9]:?
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  • Posted

    I was on Amlodipine for 6 weeks for suspected high B.P. and the side effects were severe constipation, terrible nightmares and swollen ankles. Fortunately, as I suspected, I have since been tested (24 hr monitor) and found not to have high BP. I suffer from \"White Coat Hypertension\" which means it's only raised when I'm at the doctors.

    However, I do have tachycardia and have been taking verapamil for it for over a year and have no side effects at all. As verapamil also works for high BP perhaps you could ask to try that in a higher dose to see if it works for both the tachycardia and the B.P. Good Luck.

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  • Posted

    I googled "Does amlodopine cause atrial fibrillation" in the forlorn hope that I might be the only one who thought so. I find, however, that there is a considerable body of opinion of the same mind. I started taking "amlodopine" about two years ago, I was ok for the first year but then started with occasional palpitations which gradually increased in frequency until they were a daily occurrence, so 6 months ago I stopped taking them but I am still having episodes of what my doctor has now diagnosed as a.f. I am now concerned that amlodopine has caused some long term damage to my heart. I have been taking Lisinopril for 20+ years for BP without any side effects and this has kept my BP under control. I wonder if Gandalf and Flutterbee who posted comments in 2009 on this site have more up to date experiences to share? I now face a possible lifetime on Warfarin thanks to amlodopine! (my opinion)
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    • Posted

      For me it was the lisinopril that caused the problem.  I took it for years, experiencing the "irregular heartbeat" on average only once in 3 months. I fijnally went in and had it diagnosed as a-fib.  Rather than take the additional two medications they recommended, I stopped taking the lisinopril and my occurrences of a-fib began separating by greater periods of time until they seem to have stopped altogether.  I write this only to give you hope that yours too may decrease and then completely end, now that you have stopped taking the amiodopine.  I never took the afib medications but can't recommend you follow my example for the dangers of stroke, etc.  God bless you!

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