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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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