Ended up in A&E

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I am 80 and have never taken prescription medicines except for the odd antibiotic on rare occasions.  For the first time in my life I was prescribed Amoldipine for high BP on 1 March.  The leaflet says 2.5mg is the normal starting dose but the capsules only exist in 5 & 10mg.  This already started alarm bells ringing so I cut the 5mg tablets in half.  3 days after the first half dose I noticed that I was urinating much more frequently and by the 4th day I was feeling decidedly under the weather. On the 5th day I stopped the medication because I was feeling cramping pains around my waist area.  These worsened to a feeling of stabbing pains and I called 999 at 11.45pm last night.  After a very thorough examination the paramedic was at a loss to understand what the cause was so admitted me to hospital where they discovered I had a urinary infection.  At my age I have had urinary infections in the past but never one that caused me so much pain that I needed to be hospitalised.  Strangely this evening I had a call from the pharmacist who dispensed the medication asking me how I was getting on.  This has never happened before and I was very suspicious so I asked whether there was something wrong with the medication.  Her reply was "Oh no no no, we just like to check up on our patients"  Having read all the horrendous side effects of this medication. Holland didn't ban it for no reason.  I discovered that a magnesium deficiency could cause HBP so I am taking that instead.  At least it can't do me any harm.

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  • Posted

    Hi Margaret,

    I'm so sorry to hear about your problems. Amlodipine is a potentially nasty drug, though some people stay on it for years with no problems and it controls their BP very effectively.

    As I've stated elsewhere on these boards, Holland did not ban this medication. That was an internet rumour. As a Belgian, I read Dutch with no problems and I investigated as soon as this rumour came up on these boards more than a year ago. Holland didn't ban it. The rumour arose from a report that it had come off licence in Holland (i.e. it could be produced in generic form). I understand several other European languages and can confirm it hasn't been banned anywhere in Europe. I hold no brief for pharmaceutical companies, but I don't like to see false rumours being circulated when they could cause unnecessary fears.

    That doesn't mean that amlodipine doesn't cause severe side-effects in some individuals. My own BP is a bit borderline at the moment (I'm 72) and I admit I wouldn't take it without investigating all the alternatives first.

    I've actually found m@gnesium very effective at keeping my BP under reasonable control - so far anyway. I totally agree it won't do you any harm as long as you keep within the recommended dose - apart from mild diarrhoea in some cases. However, at our age constipation is often more of a problem, so that can balance things out!

    You don't say how high your BP was when your doctor decided to put you on medication. Some of them are far more picky than others. My mum took verapamil (an older drug in the same class as amlodipine) for years without side-effects till an over-zealous young doctor decided to double the dose because her BP was just 135/80. She got bad side-effects then, but I got the original dose restored. Some doctors insist on the "standard" 120/80 across the board, regardless of age, whereas others are far more tolerant of higher values in the over-70s.

    It might well be that a different BP medication would suit you better than amlodipine, which isn't right for everyone. Why not go back to your GP and tell him you want to try something else?

    I hope you soon start feeling better.

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    • Posted

      Thank you Lily for pointing out that Holland did not ban Amoldipine.  I like to get my facts right.  Whilst in A&E the nurses kept coming about every hour to take my bloodpressure.  The screen was very easy to see and it was always around 135/74 which I consider normal and considering I had been in so much pain - exceptional.  Thenk you for your good wishes.

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  • Posted

    Hi Margaret, sorry you too have had a bad experience with amilodipine, there are many drugs on the market to help with blood pressure and whilst  some people have taken amilodipine for years with no ill effects some of us infact a lot of us are not in the category. It has been pointed out that the drug amilodipine has not been banned in Holland and Europe and my doctor seemed very surprised at my side effects however she did change it immediately for me and within a month things were looking better. I really don't like taking any medication unnecessarily and am disappointed that I have to take it for very high blood pressure but as it can lead to stroke or possibly heart attack then I take the mess. I think my blood pressure is inherited as I have lead a quite healthy life and done most of the right things most of the time. It's good to know you are doing well and I feel that we all should take an interest in the medicines we are prescribed because we after all are the ones in tune with our bodies. All the best of health to you and everyone else that has experienced problems and side effects, kind regards Debbie

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  • Posted

    Hi Margaret, sorry ro here about your issues. Amlodipine is a snake in the grass for some including myself . I switched to coversyl HD plus 4 MG and it has dropped my BP down about 15 points top and bottom with veey minimal side effects. I also now take grape seed, niacin, Omega krill, vitamin k2 , co enzyme q 10 , plant sterile extracts and a multi vitamin. Conveniently they all come in a pack. I reduce my salt intake and try to throw veggies in everything. It rook a couple years ro get a good combination but it's worked for me so far.

    Wish you all the best! Pat

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  • Posted

    Hi You are wise to abandon Amlodipine, it is a truely awful drug. I was prescribed 10mg and after a month had swollen ankles, abdominal pains, palputations, heartburn, non stop diarrhoea and a fuzzy mind. It took over 3 months to recover. All my GP said was 'you were unlucky'

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