The slow build up of side effects- anyone had the same?

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I was prescribed amlodipine 5mg and then, very quickly, 10 mg about 1 year ago. My high bp was detected by my optician via an eye test (!). I have only just discovered this site and wish I had done so earlier.

I am 64, married, semi-retired/work part-time, am fairly active ( e.g. do a lot of walking; go to gym regularly). My bp was taken by the nurse last week and was defined as \"absolutely normal\"; my own readings at home now average 130/80. I had been a heavy smoker for 50 years but gave up a year ago, i.e. as soon as I was put on this awful medication, simply by \" \"going cold turkey\".

My diet is extremely healthy because my wife has to eat very carefully and sensibly for medical reasons.I am a big believer in medical self-help/ alternative treatment and I am personally averse to taking any pills on a long term basis without attempting alternative treatments. I'm not trying to depict myself as a \"health/lifestyle angel\"- I like a drink and good food, like a laugh, go to football, love rock music gigs.

However, my relationship with my GP is not what one would call a \" \"partnership\". One of the most recent NHS policy straplines in terms of patients' rights ( and, boy, how I hate these types of weazel words) is \" \"no decision about me, without me\". Well, folks, even in the first few weeks of taking amlodipine and of being bumped from 5mg to 10 mg my GP was strongly inferring that I would be on bp medication \" for life\". And, when I complained about weight gain, he said he was not concernd \"as long as my bp came down\".

What I have realised, especially after reading this site, is that the side effects of amlodipine can also build up very slowly over a long period of time, i.e. as opposed to being more of a sudden or \" allergic\" body reaction. The danger of this \"gradual accumulation\" of symptoms is that the patient can come to accept these side effects as normal. In my own case, I guess I have up to now been thinkng that they were all to do with natural ageing , smoking cessation, etc. Indeed, my contact with my GP is so minimal that it's a wonder I think of the amlodipine at all.

The main side effects for me are:

-weight gain ( and, I suspect ,fluid retention); for 30 years I could have sent anybody to, say, M&S with a note of my size for a shirt, a suit, jeans, etc. Now, after 1 year of amlodipine, I have 5 business suits which no longer fit and a new, larger suit purchased as a stop gap in July which does not fit. And ditto with dress shirts. And so on.

-calf cramps during the night;

-exacerbated pain in what ,previously , were weak spots/ old sports injuries ( hip, back, knee);

- significantly reduced intellectual/ creative energy;

-\"doing the same amount of activity ( walking, gardening,etc) takes more and more effort/ makes me more and more tired\"- in other words, I still try to do the same length of walk, amount of gardening but it takes longer and takes more out of me; and no- I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT I CAN SIMPLY HAVE AGED THIS MUCH IN 12 MONTHS!

I have paid for acupuncture, which has yielded good benefits; I am about to purchase the RespeRate breathing machine ( has anybody else out there used this/ found a benefit from it?) plus some Cumel natural herb tablets.

However, my huge, huge concern is that my realisation, after reading this site, that amlodipine's side effects can also be gradual and can literally \" \"creep up on you\" if there is no real dialogue with your GP will fall upon the deaf ears......of......my GP.

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  • Posted

    govelad3...

    I've read and been told by my doctor that you should never just take yourself off a BP medication. You should be weaned (sp?) off. You might want to try going to a homeopathic store to see what options are available to you. Whatever you do, I wish you the best of luck. I've been off Amlodipine for over a month now and I feel so much better as a result.

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  • Posted

    I've been on 5mg Amlodipine for 5 weeks now and can't say I am happy. I am a very active 74-year old and swim every day as well as doing a lot of vigorous walking. I have found that when I exercise now I get out of breath quickly which never happened before. Also had an ear infection a couple of weeks ago (swimmers ear) which I have had before but usually it clears up in a couple of days but this time had to go on anti-biotics and it took longer. The really strange thing though is the effect that I assume the drug is having on my swimming. I usually swim freestyle ploughing up and down the pool with no problems but since starting the Amlodipine I keep getting what I can only call panic attacks in the pool feeling that I can't breath and can't go on swimming. Nothing like this has ever happened to me before in all my years of regular swimming. Anyone have any similar experience? I'm continuing with the Aml. but due to see the doc again in 2 weeks time to review performance. The thing that worries me is I'm off to Turkey in 3 weeks time on a walking holiday and don't want that to be spoiled.
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  • Posted

    I had mega problems with Amlodipine from day one when my GP put me on it for high blood pressure my knees/joints especially my right one started to hurt me significantly. I also suffered erectile dysfunction. I went back to my GP expressing my concerns about this drug but needless to say she reluctantly took me off it and the problems disappeared. The blood pressure started to go up again although I am still on Doxasosin, so she then re-introduced Amlodipine and Lorvacs XL 1.5 in January 2014. No sooner that I started retaking Amlodipine my right knee swollen and the joints became rather painful and the erectile dysfunction returned. I am having difficulties walking properly and as if my right knee is seizing up. I went back to my GP on 20/02/2014 after a massive argument and producing the facts from this website and pointing out that amlodipine has been banned in Holland she reluctantly agreed for me to discontinue using this awful and wretched drug. She now replaced it Ramipril with a starting dose of 2.5mg which I will start taking on 21/02/14 along with Doxasosin and Lorvacs.
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  • Posted

    Hi Doug,

    I was dudious about going on forums and sites like these but, i am glad i have now. after reading your post i feel like there is a light at the end of the tunnel. i am 41 years old but feel twice my age. i have been on amlodipine 5mg for a year which was upped to 10 mg about two weeks ago.

    I thought i was getting old before my time feeling more and more tired everyday no matter how much sleep i had. muscle aching more and more each day after the usual exercise i stopped going to the gym and cycling as i had no energy to do it. old sports injuries getting worse my ususal creative spark had disappeared headaches dry mouth feeling generally rubbish all the time getting paranoid that it was something more serious. i stopped taking the amlodipne yesterday so i am now hoping that this is the start of me coming back and being me again. i will start with taking omega 3 and see if that helps.

    i would like Thank you for posting your message, i thought i was going mad. but now i see that it was the medication that was supposed to make me better which was actually making me feel worse than i was before i started taking it.

    Best wishes to all on here.

    marcus

     

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  • Posted

    Hi . I am still on Amlodopine 10 mg as trying to stop it caused my BP to rocket through the roof.I also take Olmasartan 40mg,Atenolol 10mg and Doxazosin 4mg.All together it keeps my BP low,but also my life is very low .No energy ,no enthusiasm ,no sex,life is not good .I wish I could wind back the clock 10years and I would not have started on BP meds.
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  • Posted

    I had been looking up side effects for another rx that I am currently taking when I came across your posting about Amlodipine 10mg. I was surprised when read it. I'm 47 6'1" tall and all my adult life my weight has ranged from 205 - 215, after have been perscribed this medication 4 years ago my weight has gone to 285 - 290. I also have the swelling of ankles and feet, and pain in my knees. What a relief, I am going to get another opinion about this medicine. And I had thought that my weight gain and pains had been part of geting older, man was I wrong.
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    • Posted

      I saw your post about the weight gain.  I just got out of the hospital.  I was feeling lightheaded and having palpitations since my dosage was increased from 5mg to 10mg, so I went to ER.  I was there for 2 days.  They gave me Lasix and in those 2 days, 10 lbs of fluid came off me.  I weighed 10 pounds less. I also am experiencing brain fog and vision issues.  This is only my 2nd day off Amlodipine.  I'm hoping to feel better soon. Hoping the same for you.

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    • Posted

      Hi Asha ... please keep us updated if possible especially in the brain fog .. it should lift off between the 5th to 14 th day off Amlodipine and that's what happened to most ....

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  • Posted

    I am a 58 year old woman and have been taking various BP meds for over 15 years.  I moved to San Diego in 2007 and my new Doc switched me to Amlodipine 10 mg.  I also prescribed Benicar 20 mg and HZT 25 mg.for my 'cocktail'.  My ankles and feet swelled so much that my shoes were uncomfortable.  It was uncomfortable to walk with my ankles being so tight.  Doc cut me back to 5 mg. Ankles improved.  Over time I felt that I really lost a lot of my ability to focus and my libido had left the building.  Doc prescribed depression meds as well.  Wellbutrin and Zoloft.  Cut dissolve, around the weeks ago I saw him and my pressure was high 156/95.  I do have white coast syndrome.  I check in with a weight loss clinic every Sat and never get readings like that.  Anyway, he upped me back to 10 mg even though we agreed that swollen ankles was a side effect at this dose.  Slowly, over three weeks time by ankles and feet swelled incomfortably. (my BP readings during these 3 weeks was great 126/80, 108/74, 110/74.   I felt depressed - I chalked this up to my father's recent death and more.  But the worst was around week two my left hip and knee joints were really bothering me.  Another week later and I had to limp to walk and it was incredibtly painful.  I felt I had aged 20 years.  I thought I should see an orthopedic Doc as I was limping out to get a sandwich.  On the way back I had a think about what had changed.  Light bulb - doubled the amlodipine!  Then I found this fourm, thank goodness.  I knew the next morning would but back down to 5 mg.  I e-mailed my Doc and asked to be put on something else.  He didn't want to as he thought the alternatives would have more severe side effects. Two days later I already feel better.  I have a little more energy and feel a wee bit happier.  I have my own cuff and am monitoring and recording my BP every day.  I'm going to try to sensibly wean off the Amlodopine.  Thank you for reading my long history with this med.  I'm also going to try to wean off the depressants.
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    • Posted

      Don't worry about weaning unless you have a reason for doing so.

      Pharmacists have told me it's ok to simply stop the Amlodipine as there is no rebound to be concerned with.

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  • Posted

    I so empathise with all these posts. I have been on 5 mg Amlopidine for about 4 years A year ago my BP started rising and the dose was increased to 10 mg. I have been gradually feeling more and more exhausted over the past 4 years. I have an underactive thyroid and take tablets for that as well. But as you all state, the gradual eroding of good health is stealthy and you do feel as though it is just getting old. I am 68 years old but have always worked and love to swim and walk. Now however I struggle to do any kind of exercise as I am overweight and cannot seem to lose it (could be thyroid though) and feel tired all the time to the point of sleeping during the day at times.

    I finally decided to ask the doctor to look at the tablets I was taking and to prescribe another BP tablet as my legs and ankles were swelling so much. This he did and put me on Ramipril. I stopped taking Amlopidine for about 3 weeks but then my BP started to rise again. This week he put me back on Amlopidine 5 mg and after only 6 days on the tablets I can feel the tiredness returning. It really was quite marked how quickly I felt all the symptons returning. I go back to the doctors Tuesday and will insist on an alternative to Amlopidine

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  • Posted

    On my reaching  65 my  surgery began routine monitoring of my bp. My previous health and fitness were ok, nonsmoker, reasonable alcohol intake, exercise. Early this year I had a couple of dizzy spells which were put down to fighting off an infection or virus. (I had not had a day off work with illness for at least 10years and still haven't.) Shortly after this I had my regular checkup and the nurse decided to put me on bp tablets, Amlodipine 5mg. I noted my bp at the time, 180/101!  After a while I noticed a couple of hot flushes, and began to feel tired by lunchtime after even an easy morning. Eventually I came to the conclusion that age was finally catching up - 69 this May. I also noticed that I was now only getting perhaps one or two decent nights' sleep in three, and waking up feeling groggy. And I developed oedema in my right foot and ankle. A couple of months ago I woke in the night in agony from my neck, and made an appointment to see the gp who diagnosed arthritis. (I had another hot flush while I was with him.) I also mentioned my other symptoms and asked if this might be the tablets? To my slight surprise he told me to stop them immediately for a couple of months and check my bp regularly - we have a bp monitor. A couple of days after my last tablet I suddenly realised that I no longer felt like an old man, the hot flushes stopped, no more oedema, sleeping retirned to normal. My systolic level increased from what it had been on that last day but seems to be gradually reducing, the diastolic has varied but also seems to be stabilizing over the past three weeks, only once  in the past six weeks has it reached 90. My conclusions are : 1) that I was misdiagnosed; or 2) that Amlodine doesn't work, at least for me; 3) that I may need a different prescription; and finally, 4) that I am not prepared to go on a "lifetime" drug that MAYsave my life, but WILL reduce my quality of life to a level I am not prepared to accept, at least while any potential heart problem lies some way in the future. Incidentally, I underwent an ECG just after starting Amplodipine for entirely unconnected reasons (I took part in a medical research experiment) and was passed fit. In conclusion, i would advise anyone prescribed Amlodinine for the first time to watch out for these symptoms, and if they occur, speak to your gp immediately, but DON'T stop taking them without prior discussion. I still have the arthritis - age and wear and tear related, nothing to do with the drug. My a
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  • Posted

    Sorry, hit the wrong key. My wife has been on Ramipril for quite some time but her bp was very high and is now possibly a bit too low. She has some symptoms which might be side-effects but very much milder than mine and tolerable for the moment.
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  • Posted

    Your post reminds me that when I was taking amlop that I had serious nocturnal leg cramps at least monthly. Since I have stopped ( my earlier post has the details but briefly side effects kicked in when I was immobile after surgery), the cramps have stopped. I had not even noticed or thought of a connection but it was an interesting coincidence if amlop had no causative effect. I had not connected this problem to amlop as like my other symptoms it had not occurred in the first few years on the drug
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  • Posted

    Hi doug64, I know this is a very late reply, but could your weight gain be caused by your stopping smoking? most folk on here have a gripe against this drug. Personally it doesnt bother me, I have lost half a stone over the last 6 months and I feel great. I have a reperate, it does work, but I find it it is oh so boring to use. I do sometimes feel very tired but find a dose of iron tablets does the trick. i am 64 as well, I think we have to accept that we really are getting on a bit, and cant do all the things we did easily at 30.
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