My Amlodipine Withdrawal experience/story and re-assurance/help for those in need.

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My Amlodipine Withdrawal experience/story and re-assurance/help for those in need.

I am writing this long story for those who will be in the desperate painful situation like i was, when i was thinking that my life is gone and i will never be myself again all because of amlodipine, it always helps me to get through by reading stories and experiences from other people in this forum, so here it goes;

Intro: I would never think and believe (so does none of the GP, neurologists or cardiologists) in my life, that there is any withdrawal side effects for Amlodipine, it felt like i was withdrawing from something you can find with antidepressants/benzodiazepines withdrawals or drugs which have very long and horrible withdrawals...

Most of the people on amlodipine are perfectly fine without any issues. Then there is another group of people which are sensitive to Amlodipine, sensitivity to amlodipine may shown in short time or like to me after a longer period of using it. In my case it shows up the worst side effects after 2.5 years of use.

Starting side effects of Amlodipine which may subside or lessen after few weeks of use (my own experience):

-tiredness/fatigue

-swollen ankles, hands

-headaches/migraine/tension headaches, muscle tension

-Gastric problems, bloating, acid reflux, diarrhoea, fluctuation.

  • less concentration and less interest in usual hobbies and works.

    -fluctuating blood pressure and palpitation

  • breathlessness

Side effects of amlodipine which does not subsided or does not disappeared after a few weeks use and also additional side effects (own experience):

-frequent urination

-swollen ankles, hands (diuretics prescription will take care of that, but for the price of frequent urination and constipation, dehydration...)

-tiredness

-feeling empty-headed, foggy brain, not able to concentrate on simple tasks

-headaches/migraines

-gastric issues

-water in ears/blocked ears

-visual disturbances

-sleeping disturbances, insomnia, nightmares, vivid dreams, waking up around 3 am unable to sleep

-hot and cold flushes

-sweating, night sweats, cold sweats, hot sweats

-neck pain, back pain, muscle tension

-clenching fists and teeth during sleep painful jaws after

New added Side effects of amlodipine which came after 2.5 years of use (my own experience):

-anxiety and depression (without reason)

-loss of interest on everything

-dark mood all the time

-hair loss

-sexual dysfunction, loss of libido, ED

-cold hands and feet, mostly left side

-tremors, shaking, teeth tingling, torso shaking

-high blood pressure and BP spikes

  • +all the previous side effects

I was prescribed to Amlodipine 10 mg 3 years ago, at that time 42 years old, full of energy, hobbies, family, kids all great, except once when i decided after 20 years to visit a GP...

GP checks my BP and right away sent me to E & A, my bp was 190/110, they did whole series of cardio tests, blood tests all clear..

Prescribed to Amlodipine 10 mg for am and Ramipril 10 mg for pm. Like i said Amlodipine with some side effects did work and helped to lower my bp to 130/80 for almost 2.5 years.

After 2.5 years my body and mind start showing up strange side effects, which i never experienced before, beside all that, amlodipine doesn't lower my bp any more or i would rather say, it even spikes my bp to 170/100+. Despite many tests and blood tests which came clear i was unable to figure it out what was wrong with me.

Never have in my life any issues with anxiety or anything related to that, being ex-military and always on healthy confident side with happy life with my family and my kids with lots of hobbies. So there is no history to anxiety...

Now Withdrawal story and timeline:

My Amlodipine withdrawal side effects:

-Severe General anxiety disorder

-Severe health anxiety disorder

-Social anxiety and agoraphobia

-Panic attacks

-Severe depression and dark mood

-tearfulness, loss of interest on anything, loss of concentration

-Associated physical side effects with my anxiety:

-fatigue/tiredness

-tremors, shaking,

-hot/cold flushing

-sense of something is being stuck in the throat

-night sweats

-muscle tension

-headaches, dull/tension headaches, migraines

other physical side effects:

-frequent urination, stomachache, gastric problems

-blood pressure spikes

-higher heart rate

-palpitation

(even without amlodipine, body mechanism keeps doing same daily procedure as like it was before with amlodipine for couple of weeks)

First before anyone try to withdrawn from Amlodipine, please do consult this with your doctor, GP, neurologist, cardiologist and so on, do not do this on your own, explain to them how do you feel and stay your ground, if they don't believe you and trying to convince you that Amlodipine can't cause this, don't give up, there are many other bp medications with lesser side effects than amlodipine. Amlodipine was developed in 80's have a long history of use and is cheap, therefore is a frequently prescribed/used as a first bp medications offer.

Amlodipine mechanism and timing:

When i swallowed Amlodipine at 9 am it takes from 6-10 hours to be on its max. peak workout. So that would be around 4 pm in my case. Usually my BP spikes and all other side effects above started showing up or being worst from 4 pm and eased before 8 pm. During this 4 hours time period amlodipine trying to relax and widen blood vessels as much as he can, so that my blood pressure is stay lowered for 24 hours. Amlodipine- calcium channel blocker doing its job, therefore frequent urination and or swollen ankles, water have to go somewhere right? ... After this 4 hours max. peak workout, amlodipine did his re-construction and my blood vessels are now widened and therefore bp lowered.

Now from this point on i am in safe zone and i can go on with my day. But if you are new to amlodipine, it takes around a month to re-build and to get use to it for your body mechanism and during this month, you may go through so many side effects, because your body and mechanism doesn't understand it yet and trying to do it's best to fight it back, therefore many side effects showing up first month and you feel worst than ever, even bp doesn't change to a better digits yet and you feel like heart attack is coming everyday (in this case, please do contact your doctor, E&A anyway to be on safe side) , breathless, tired and so on...But when your body mechanism adjust to a new body system mechanism, side effects should lessen or completely subside.

Now some of us are fine after a while, some of us don't, each of us is different and our body responses are different. If the side effects are still same after few weeks or worst, talk to your doctor.

OK ,now back to my withdrawal:

After almost three years of use under supervision of my GP i slowly started weaned off of Amlodipine, yes I weaned off, (i was not going to try to go cold turkey after 3 years of use... ) because my body mechanism get used to amlodipine daily routine and it would be shock for my body mechanism and i don't wanted to test it out what is gonna happened if i go a cold turkey on amlodipine after three years... (but that is just me, each of us is different and react differently).

1/ Weaning off:

From Amlodipine 10 mg to 7.5 mg for about a month- during this period, all above side effects has not changed i felt same miserable with no change. Blood pressure checked every couple of hours and 3x with 5 min periods between measurement. BP usually was higher from afternoon 4 pm to 8 pm (using amlodipine at 9 am)

From Amlodipine 7.5 to 5 mg for around two weeks, same as before with some extra temporary blood pressure spikes, which persisted just for 30 min. and less. Usual spikes 170/100 under slow breathing and calming the bp lowered to 140/90 in minutes, then gets to 130/85 which is fine for me.

Another 2 weeks from 5 mg to 2.5 mg and there was the turning point for me, my side effects and anxiety and everything else subsided to that level, that i felt something that i felt before i was prescribed to amlodipine, so much energy and interest, no issue with physical or mental side effects. I was happy for that. Than after around week later, big boom and side effects came back with it's vengeance. Felt horrible again, back to square one... I started to believe there must be something else wrong with me...

After long conversations with my GP and many convincing talks, i pushed her to allow me to completely stop Amlodipine, i know at that point whatever happen would be because of my decision.

By pharmaceutical and doctors information amlodipine half life is around 12 days, so in 12 days my body should be clear from amlodipine... Yeah right... from their technical point of view... But we are humans each of us is different and reacts differently. Real withdrawal timeline starting to be clear from 6 weeks on. Some of us gets clear from amlodipine and its mechanism and its withdrawal side effects from 6 weeks on or at least things starts getting better.

2/ Withdrawal:

it was May 2nd. 2021 and that was the first day i stopped taking Amlodipine, (still on Ramipril for my BP which have fewer side effects for me).

Day 1 to day 7 off Amlodipine:

First week was same like i would never left amlodipine behind me, felt same side effects, sadness, anxiety, bp spikes everything was same, same bad. Days seems to feel longer never ending and with constant bp checks and fear from what if something goes wrong i will be back in hell forever with Amlodipine. But survived...

Week 2:

I remember from some marks in my diary, that that was a time when my anxiety became much worst and fear was all over the roof. It was daily. Tears, sadness, pain, tension headaches, hidden in dark under heavy duvet re-breathing my own carbon dioxide which helps calm my anxiety, tremors and blood pressure, counting minutes to pass during the 4 pm to 8 pm period for which my body usually expected Amlodipine max. peak. BP machine constantly on my hands. Horrible... but i found this forum and it helps me through i was not alone any more and it felt better that finally someone believes me with amlodipine horror.

Week 3:

I started with CBT and fight my anxiety back with all learned techniques and relax techniques, i hide my bp machine to avoid it. Started taking long walks 3-5 miles on the beach, was prescribed to propranolol which should help me to lower adrenaline and cortisol levels, lower heart rate, and remove tremors, have them in my pocket during long walks and they work within an hour. But i found that during withdrawal from amlodipine, they do exactly opposite, propranolol have paradoxical reaction on me, it cause exactly opposite causing my anxiety be much more worst and nausea and headaches are horrible from it. So no, i don't use propranolol, it does not work for me. It took me 3 days to clear from one single 10 mg pill... Walking helps much more, but still tears, sadness, anxiety find it's way. BP was on safe side all day 120-130/80-90 except when anxiety hits me in afternoon it shoots up to 170/100 temporarily. Calming techniques, re-breathing my own carbon dioxide under duvet helps to lower it down quickly.

Week 4:

Anxiety started to be less frequent its not any more daily, brain fog ease up, concentration started returning slowly back, headaches lessen, tearfulness and sadness is getting better too. BP is staying fine with occasional short spike. No palpitation, gastric issues getting better, dark mood changed too. Still far from normal, but at least i can see and feel some progress. Frequent urination still acts as before with amlodipine, body mechanism still have leftovers from amlodipine... not yet completely clear..., but is better than a few weeks ago which is good. Developed tinnitus which is louder in the evening, this could be side effect of Ramipril, but why is showing up now after three years? Who knows... Tremors and shaking subsided, muscle tension getting better, headaches are not frequent. Night sweats subsided, sleeping is getting better.

Week 5:

Things are getting even more better, anxiety level lessen in frequency and level. Things starting to be more clearer. I can convince myself now that this is just a false alarm caused by anxiety. Tinnitus continues... Depression is easing up, i can watch funny stuff on TV and start communicating with people, pay attention to others, but just for short time and still feel a bit distant. I can drive my car now, but still some comebacks caused me to cry and sit in the car thinking for hours. BP is same, body mechanism and frequent urination is now lessened, but not clear yet from amlodipine mechanism. Walks on beach daily is part of my daily program and it really does help. Trying testing natural remedies from Beetroot, co enzyme Q 10 supplement, adreset, ashwagandha, melatonin, htp, ignatia amara, galsemium, omega 3 - none of them work or make me feel worst. Body doesn't want to accept any new adjusting medication no matter how natural it is, it refuses.

My body is trying to reconstruct all neuro and other related damages caused by amlodipine by itself, so last thing it wants is another damaging chemical substitute, therefore each time i am trying to take something my body doesn't want, it showing me unwanted reaction with nausea, tension headache, anxiety and depression and so on. Only what is accepted without any issues is B-complex vitamins, D3 vitamins, iron supplement and magnesium glycinate, all are fantastic addition to your body, because anxiety and depression depletes all of them and by adding them, your body have more energy and stays calmer. But that's just me, each of us is different.

Week 6:

Anxiety is less and less frequent, maybe once in every 5-7 days, its mild, concentration is much more better, energy levels are better, bp is same, tinnitus is still there, daily walks helping, few sad moments, but nothing major. Interested in old hobbies, things slowly returning... To all men, ED and sexual dysfunction and libido is returned back to normal... body and mind can fix itself, it just takes some time...

Week 7:

Just when i thought i am OK, i had major sat back. An episode of severe anxiety returned back with a full package, tears and all that. It was triggered by some bad news, which will in some way change the way of my life. But i am dealing with that, which is a good thing, i didn't give up, hopefully gets better. Anyway even through this sad week filled with depression i was able get up and do things i do. BP is OK, slightly elevated due to triggered stress and anxiety, but i know how to calm down this... Other side effects does not returned, tinnitus continues... GP offered antidepressants, no thank you... after finishing one fight, start another one? No Thank You...

Week 8:

Keep dealing with stress, but that's normal, being able to deal with it, keeps me going. Have meeting with my GP in a few days, lets see how things will goes..Tinnitus still there, bp is OK. Minimal anxiety and no tears or heavy depression. Long walks, relaxing helps a lot. So far feeling 60-70 % better than 8 weeks ago, but still is no over, i wish to know when it will be over of this withdrawal and things returning to 100%, my estimated guess maybe another two months... hopefully. That would be 4 months in total which would be great, but will see....

This is where i am now, week 8 and i will keep continue to updating my situation, to all of you who fighting with this, please do not give up, it takes a time. Day by day, week by week, but you will get there. It may sometimes feels like one step forward and two steps back, but you will get there, believe me, I was there.

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  • Edited

    yess! i needed this currently on week 9. prayerful and okay ! Be blessed ! ❀

    • Edited

      Hi Quyn2678,

      I am glad that things are getting better for you, that's great, hopefully soon all struggles with withdrawal from Amlodipine will be gone and we will be 100% back to normal. Stay strong and take care. All the best. πŸ™πŸ‘πŸ’ͺ

  • Posted

    Update:

    Week 9:

    This week was for me very long and hard week, felt mostly all days tiredness, fatigue, nausea, dizziness. Tinnitus continues... Sleeping was not great either. Usual walks have been shortened due to a fatigue and tiredness. Evenings seems to be worst with fatigue and tiredness. Blood pressure with a couple of evening spikes, but nothing major stays mostly around 120/75 and with spikes 140/90. Heart rate is ok. Mood is mostly sad, tearful and depressed, but no anxiety or panic attack. Still doesn't feel like myself and i feel like my life will never gets back to normal, which scares me and makes me feel worthless and useless. 63 days gone and still in amlodipine withdrawal hell... I wish that everything will return back to normal soon...

    Met my GP this week, received mild SSRI antidepressant prescription and have unopened box of Lustral for over week on my bedside...

    I am trying to re-think my GP offer, to start with SSRI Lustral (Setraline) an seratonin adjusting antidepressant, which is mild, but it takes at least 6-8 weeks to see any change in mood and during those 8 weeks i have to deal with side effects which may cause more anxiety, nausea, depression and so on...

    Really don't know what to do, i am tired and fatigue, lets hope next week gets better, because week 9 really sucks for me...

  • Edited

    Update:

    Week 10: (70days off amlodipine)

    Last 2 weeks i have not felt well on a single day, depression, anxiety, sadness, dark mood and so on... Due to a recent changes and stress around me which is not only affecting me, but also my family and kids, i have decided to start with prescribed antidepressants SSRI (Sertraline/Lustral/Zoloft 50mg).

    It's my 6th. day on this antidepressant medication and i am on starting dose 25mg to get my body use to them, because the starting side effects are pretty bad and actually cause more anxiety and depression and many other side effects in the beginning of treatment. It will take 4-12 weeks before i will start to feel any effect of this medication and first 2-4 weeks are horrible.

    At the moment i don't feel well from them, day 6, nausea, tiredness, dizziness, loss of apetitte, elevated anxiety and sadness and so on.

    I decided to accept antidepressants, because i don't have any more energy to fight this by myself and also i signed to a therapist which i never needed before in my life... I want to be ok not just for myself, but for my family as well.

    In the end Amlodipine did cause me a lot of issues which i never experienced before, also my current situation added to it and i end up on antidepressants. Hopefully that this will help me to get better. I will try to update my situation whenever i can...

  • Posted

    I myself was on amlodipine. I took one dosage (1) and he set me back tremendously. I am 72 hrs from that initial dose and I still have tremendous brain fog and memory issues. Can anyone help with these ?

    • Posted

      Hi Breachman,

      Amlodipine stays in your system for about 12 days, it has very long half life i know, but you should start feel better soon, also talk to your GP about amlodipine and ask him to change meds, there are many options with less side effects, please do not worry your body was not adjusted after one or two doses, so there should be not long withdrawal from it. But, please do talk to your GP first.

    • Posted

      On the 5th day Rob and I feel lethargic I am not on amlo anymore stopped it after the 2 doses I took being that it takes 12 days to exit the body does it effect it that long.... Thanks for responding

    • Posted

      Hi, I am sorry you are still no ok after 5days, yes it may affect your body/system for that long (12days to clear out from your system) before it clears out, you are 5days out, just give it to it one more week, talk to your gp about it, lethargy is one of the many side effects of amlo, but also if your blood pressure is not controlled now without it, you should talk to your gp about it as well. There are many options for bp meds from ACE inhibitors, betablockers, calcium blockers, side effects differ, but at the start of treatment there are always some side effects...

      I know how you feel i was on them for 3 years and in the end they almost ruined my life. I have to started to use antidepresants now and i feel nausea, headaches, lethargy, dizziness, i cant eat much for 10 days straight, it will take around 4 weeks for me to start feel a little better, i have to go through this now and try to take hour by hour and day by day till' my body get use to it, its horrible, i can't get out of bed now... Please, take it easy, try to not to worry much, you should start feel better soon.

  • Posted

    I really appreciate you for messaging back you are really keeping me in the fight. Day 6 tommorow so I'm hopeful for better days. I will pray for your wellness you deserve it. I hope we can get each other through this I will continue to stay on this forum and give my updates as this helps me get through the days.

  • Edited

    Hey Rob day 6th was better less fog still some memory issues but praying for better days. Praying for you as well

    • Edited

      Hi Breachman,

      That's a great news, give it to it couple of more days and you'll be ok, i am getting better too, starting to get used to the new antidepressant medication, i started to eat and finally get up from bed 2 days ago and take a walk. Soon we will be ok. πŸ™

  • Posted

    Today was ok still my short term memory is a problem Happy for you get better bud

    • Posted

      Fantastic, its a good progress, soon you'll be back to normal. πŸ™

    • Posted

      Hey Rob just when I thought I was getting better last week the fog returned and the memory issues. Really has been a burden I am praying for better days hope all is well.

  • Edited

    Update week 11:

    After almost 2 weeks of use of Sertraline (Lustral) an antidepressant medication, i have finally started to feel better. My body is now adjusted and accepting sertraline without side effects.

    During this two weeks i felt horrible from physical side effects like nausea, headaches, fatigue and tiredness, loss of appetite and then elevated anxiety and depression. But finally all these side effects subsided.

    Blood pressure is controlled and actually is a bit lower, around 103/70 and afternoon anxiety and depression it does not bother me for couple of days now. Sleeping is now better as well, no more night time wake ups. Only one thing which is bothering me is that i feel numb, no sad, not happy, no tears, no nothing... Strange feeling, but definitely better than anxiety or depression. Hopefully this will subside soon too.

    • Edited

      Hi Quyn,

      How are you, hope you are well, i am slowly getting there, hopefully soon everything will be ok for us all. Wish You all the best. πŸ™ πŸ‘

    • Edited

      Hello Rob , Good to hear you are doing well. im on my way to 100 percent. for the most part my bp is under control thank God ! most of my symptoms have subsided. Every so often ill feel a twitch or a weird feeling. i still have off and on indigestion. But its alot better than before. So its coming. i wish you well too . thank u sooooo much for asking .

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