My "recovery story" from the misery of Amlodipine

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I apologize in advance for the lengthy post. For a very long time, I had been suffering from a lot of intense aches and pains in my joints and muscles and was not able to get any proper diagnosis for it. I was beginning to very worried that I had some serious illness like cancer. Thanks to the posts in this site, I was able to pinpoint amlodipine as the source of my misery. I shall try to put as much details as I can regarding my own experience in journal form, in case it becomes helpful to others.

Background: I am male, 40yrs old, former competitive swimmer and in good shape (apart from the hypertension which is genetic). I was placed on 5mg amlodipine after being diagnosed with hypertension 6 years ago. 5mg seemed to work fine with no side effects. In July 2016, I went to our local clinic due to a serious case of the flu. The GP on duty was not happy with my 130/90 and said that I should increase my dosage to 10mg. Thinking nothing of it, I complied but did not consult with my specialist. In hindsight, this is when my symptoms started to appear.

Symptoms: It first started with muscle pain in my left forearm and joint pain in my left shoulder. I assumed that this was due to carrying my newborn baby in the same position for hours on end. These disappeared but then I suddenly started suffering pain in my hands and feet as if someone had taken a hammer to them. I felt like my bones were crushed. In December, pain in my knees and elbows followed. My knees felt swollen at the back while my elbows felt as if there was constant pressure on my funny bone. There wasn’t any actual swelling or inflammation, just the sensation of pain really. I then started to have muscle spasms at the beginning of this year. The spasms and twitching were almost constant at night.

How amlodipine became a suspect: After researching everything from arthritis to cancer, I stumbled across this site and the symptoms posted seemed similar. So I figured, what the heck! Let’s give this a shot. So on 29-Jan, I decided not to take my medication and felt some relief almost immediately. My “recovery” is detailed in the journal below:

Day 1 – 0mg. By the end of the day, muscle spasms stopped completely. Have not had any ever since. This was my first clue that amlodipine may be the culprit. Pain in my right knee completely disappeared with pain in my elbows and left knee lessening and not constant.

Day 2 – 2.5mg – Afraid of rebound hypertension, I decided to still take 2.5mg. Pain in right elbow, completely gone. Less pain in left knee and elbow. Developed slight occasional shoulder pain though. Pain in right thumb and toes.

Day 3 – 2.5mg – No more knee and right elbow pain. Though pain in left elbow remains but significantly less. Foot and toe pain greatly reduced.

Day 4 – 5mg – Started getting a headache and uncomfortable feeling in left arm so I thought I could be getting hypertension again so decided to take 5mg. Slight pain in left index finger and right thumb. Slight occasional shoulder pain. Joints in elbows, shoulders, knees and ankles started popping and clicking.

Day 5 – Back to 2.5mg – No more pain in elbows and knees. However, shoulder pain increased and developed lower back and hip pain. This was after I took the 2.5mg at mid-day. Also developed a stomach upset about ten minutes after taking it.

Day 6 – 2.5mg – No knee and elbow pain. No pain in fingers and toes but have feeling of stiffness. Joints still popping and clicking.  Shoulder pain increased. Felt like stabbing pain. Something new is that the front of my neck felt sore and muscles felt swollen.

Day 7 – 0mg Since it was the weekend and expected less stress, I decided to try and not take amlodipine. No pain in major joints. Neck and shoulders felt stiff and sensation of neck swelling still there but not constant.

Day 8 – Still 0mg – Felt almost normal. Neck soreness was there upon waking but became negligible towards the afternoon.

Day 9 (today) – Pain free!!!! Still some tightness in the neck from time to time but nothing like it was in the past days. In fact, it is non-existent as I type this.

Observations – Symptoms seem to get worse before they get better for each joint. Improvement also seemed to start from the bottom and progress upwards with pain in the upper joint getting worse or appearing just as the bottom joint was feeling better. Example, as my knees were getting better, my left elbow pain got worse; and as my elbows were getting better, I started to develop pain in the shoulders and neck which I did not have previously.

Conclusion – I am not sure if I shall be getting off amlodipine completely. I actually plan to take 2.5mg again for a few days and work my way back to my normal 5mg dosage. I did not have any side effects then. I do plan to go back to my specialist but he only comes in on weekdays and it is a problem for me to get time off from work.

 

Again, apologies for the length of this post but I do hope that it is able to help someone. 

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  • Posted

    Also, I saw another post here mentioning something about vivid dreams. I had a very vivid nightmare last night for the first time in years. It was kinda like sleep paralysis. Not sure if it was related to coming off amlodipine.

    The clicking and popping of my joints have also gone so I suppose those were my joints settling back after months of being under attack. 

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  • Posted

    Interesting post, ramvin. I'm sure it will help many people. I'd just make one point though. Do you have your own BP monitor? I note you said at one point that you thought your BP might be going up again because of your symptoms. It would make your observations even more precise if you could correlate your BP with the changes in dose.

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    • Posted

      Hi! Thanks for the suggestion. Yes, I do have an Omron 3 Series monitor at home but I was at work when I felt like my BP was high. All I could really do was compare it to previous experiences when my BP was high. I however had been monitoring my BP since reducing my dosage whenever I can and it has been in the range of 128/88 which had always been my baseline prior to being told to increase to 10mg. Admittedly, my BP was better at close to 120/80 when I was on 10mg.

      Just would like to add some other positive effects that I neglected. I've had insomnia up to three times a week when I was on 10mg amlodipine. I haven't had a single episode ever since I reduced the dosage and I sleep through the night. Also, I notice that I don't have to get up and pee two or three times a night anymore. 

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  • Posted

    Hi Ramvin,

    May I suggest you see your specialist and ask him to change the Amlodipine for a different medication. There are plenty of others out there. Both my husband and I had problems, my legs and ankes became swollen and painful. I insisted on a different medication twice before I found one that dealt with the BP without causing me unpleasant symptoms. I now take Losartan. My husband had the aches and pains in his joints but insisted on continuing. He eventually went back to the GP and asked to be put on a different medication. He too is on Losartan with good BP and no more side effects. It is worth getting a BP monitor but make sure you get a good one. I have an Omron MIT Elite. I take me BP a couple of times a week at different times in the day. Mine is always a little higher in the mornings and improves as the day goes on. Don't become obsessed with taking it though.

    All the best.

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    • Posted

      Hi Nannylynn, 

      I know what you are saying about obssessing with BP monitoring. smile I've already told my boss that I will be taking some time off to see my specialist as soon as work is less busy. Hopefully, that will be within this week. I really would not want to stay on Amlodipine after all that I have gone through. 

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    • Posted

      Nannylyn.

      I can't stand the joint pain . Been off almodipine for almost 5 days now. My hands are numb . My joints are all still sore. I have to continue to work. I am miserable. Am I going to get better ? I am afraid to take another prescription another prescription.

      Sheri

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    • Posted

      Yes I am finally better. Some tingling left in my hands but not sure if it it is from the almodipine. I am in no hurry to go on another no med. So I am just taking my regular atenol for now. Thank you for asking.

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  • Posted

    Hi ramvin, amilodipine seems to be a reckless pain causing drug with far too many side effects to mention. I too suffered ill effects from it including joint pain swelling ankles  hair loss memory loss to name a few. It worked for my high blood pressure along with ramipril and bisoperol but I stopped taking it and was fine for a month monitored my blood pressure myself but it did begin to creep up and my headaches began which were my first sign of blood pressure , so I went to my GP who prescribed another drug which has really taken my readings down to 110/70 so there's hope for others we don't have to suffer amilodipine it is banned in some countries and I think it should be taken off the market here too. Regards Debbie

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    • Posted

      Hi Dave, sorry my reply is late but I take indapamide to replace the amilodipine along with ramipril and bisoperol the latter two I have taken for probably 5 years and my blood pressure last week was 110/70 which is what it was many years ago before I had any problems with it. To date I am much better my memory's backmto normal no swelling ankles no feet and hair seems to be thickening up too I am not surprised amilodipine is banned in some countries it really does appear to have too many side effects and the hair loss is devastating to us ladies, I know we have to get the blood pressure down but there are kinder drugs that work just as well and better as I have found out thank goodness. Kind regards Debbie

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  • Posted

    ramvin, from your account of your experience with relapses and improvements in your day-to-day health whilst tinkering with Amlodpine doses, that would seem proof enough that Amlodipine is not for you.  Why continue with a drug that appears to be causing such intolerable side effects when there are numerous others on the market?

    I suggest that you take a copy of your post to your doctor, and soon, before this drug causes even worse problems.  It caused swelling and varicose eczema all around my ankle area and had to be stopped - although the swelling disappeared within a couple of weeks, traces of the blotchy skin remain.

    Many people can take Amlodipine seemingly successfully, including my hubby, although I have my doubts about the word "successfully" - three people I know on the same drug have all had to have pacemakers fitted in the last couple of years.  Coincidence?  Maybe.  But it does raise questions.   

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  • Posted

    Thanks for the great study and report.  Like you, I was on 5 mg for a few years, but when my dosage was increased to 10 mg all hell broke loose and now I have permanent Afib.  I wonder if the testing of this drug considered the higher dosage.
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    • Posted

      So sorry to hear about your Afib. I still have some occassional and minor twinges of pain in my joints especially the shoulders and my left elbow. It feels like my nerves getting pinched. I have some fear that I have some sort of permanent nerve damage. I did however read somewhere that it takes quite a long time for Amlodipine to be flushed out of the body. Keeping my fingers crossed that my body continues to heal. This is indeed a dangerous drug and I hate what it has done to me. 
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  • Posted

    Thanks for all the replies and advice, everyone. Just wanted to provide an update. I was able to see a Specialist who has told me to stop Amlodipine after I had described my experience. He admitted that it was the first time he has heard of such effects as what he has only seen are the swollen ankles. But he did see the value of my little experiment and was convinced of the correlation between the pain I was experiencing and my amlodipine intake. 

    I am now on 40mg of Olmesartan Medoxomil which is an Angiotensin II Receptor Blocker. I believe this is similar to Losartan. Well, at least based on the little research I have been abe to do. 

    Hoping for the best!

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