This can be a dangerous medication - beware!

Posted , 60 users are following.

I took 5mg of amlodipine without problems for about a month. After the first-week period of adjustment, in which it completely knocked me out, I felt normal again and was overjoyed that it lowered and kept my usual 150+/90+ BP down to a textbook 120/80 (with minor variation).

But then side effects began to develop. I found my sleep increasingly poor, until I could only reach a half-sleep, no matter how much exercise I had had that day (or benadryls or Ambiens I took), "twilight sleep" I think it's called, and I arose as tired as when I went to bed, as if I hadn't slept at all.

Then I noticed that I would suddenly have shoulder and upper back muscle pain within an hour of taking amlodipine. The doctor lowered my dose to 2.5mg of amlodipine plus 40mg of benazepril, which brought only temporary improvement. The painful muscle spasms returned.

And most disturbing were the severe hot flashes that woke me up at night, as if the room were on fire, but the thermometer indicated it was only about 70°F (21°C) and my own body temperature was sub-normal, only 97 F or so (36 C), but despite my feelings of being overheated, I did not sweat - except from the soles of my feet, which is unusual for me. But my skin felt like it was on fire.

Then I would often wake with my brain "on fire" and itching like a bad allergy that I couldn't get to to scratch, and my eyes burning and streaming with tears.

The end of the amlodipine is when I opened the trunk (boot) of my car and blood vessels in the tips of my fingers where they had contacted the edge of the trunk (boot) lid burst and my fingers swelled up. I have never had weak blood vessels, or anything like that happen before.

Calcium blockers cause the blood vessels to relax and thin out - and now I wonder if not become weak. That would be a great setup for a stroke. I basically had a stroke in my fingers.

I will NEVER take this medication again. I believe it can lead to muscle pain, unrestorative interrupted sleep, and worse, strokes. I now consider it poison for me.

By the way, amlodipine has been banned in the Netherlands and other countries because its dangerous negative side effects outweigh its benefits. I don't think the Dutch are arbitrary or capricious in their decisions - I totally agree. This substance should be banned everywhere.

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118 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Colibri,

                    I am in areement on your action but what have you decided to do in future about your blood pressure. Will you replace one drug for another or work out a regime of diet and exercise to conteract your BP. If the latter will it be possible to keep us posted on your progress.

    Best wishes.

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    • Posted

      Charlie, this is an excellent question and one that has troubled me greatly since quitting amlodipine. By the way, for those who use it, amlodipine seems it might have rebound flashbacks - esp. sudden and erratic changes in blood pressure, high heart rate for no reason, hot flushes, and constant lethargy. I am concerned that it may have damaged my nervous system. I was never told to wean off of it, but I'm glad it's gone anyway. I only hope "time will heal".

      The doctor seems to have given up on me, as most other patients don't have the same disturbing side effects. ACE inhibitors (e.g. benazerpril) have only moderate effects on me (and lisinopril gives me insomnia), and losartan (Cozaar and other ARBs) seems to have had little effect on me for the last few years - it used to be a problem-free solution to my blood pressure - no side effects.

      In the past, I always found that benzodiazepines (clonazepam, lorazepam, and particularly alprazolam - Xanax - unavailable in the UK I believe) lowered my BP dramatically and rapidly, but their effect is noticeably decreased now, following the amlodipine. They are not good long-term BP meds anyway, as they are addictive and intended for short-treatment of anxiety and panic - BP is "off label" use.

      I have tried Bystolic (nebivolol), but it lowered my heart rate into the 40s!!!

      Since my doctor has "thrown up his hands" and figures I know how to monitor my blood pressure and the "pharmacy" of anti-hypertensives I've accumulated in various "experimental" prescriptions, I feel I'm on my own now. I am trying a combination of Xanax, benazepril (an ACE), losartan (an ARB), and atenolol (good for nothing but heart rate control in my body).

      I'm somewhat overweight and need to lose about 20 pounds to get to the ideal weight for my build, and I need FAR more sweaty exercise. No fatty foods, no decongestants (not the same as antihistimines, such as chlorphenimine, which lowers my BP a bit), no stimulants, and no oversleeping (which that amlodipine made so easy to do - sometimes a ghastly 12 hours a day!!! My cats can work with that, but that's going to end because my BP goes sky-high when I stay in bed beyond a normal length of time, despite the lethargy). Sorry, but that's all I have to offer, and I don't even know if I'm on the right track. Oh, and NO alcohol - it causes my BP to rollercoaster like crazy, from very low (even hypOtensive) to frighteningly high


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    • Posted

      I realise your posting is fairly old, but I have just discovered it. Weaning off Amlodipine is not necessary. Depending on how long you were taking this drug, it may take a while for the side effects to leave your body. As for your doctor 'throwing up his hands"..from what you say, he can't figure out how to get your blood pressure down. Why not ask for a referral to a Nephrologist. There could be something going on with the kidneys, their structures, or Adrenal glands. Also, I don't know about Britain, but according to the Canadian is NOT at all recommended that a patient take both an A.C.E. & an ARB. It's one or the other, not both. What disturbs me is that you are not only taking both of are also on Atenolol. Get back to your doctor. 
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    • Posted

      Hey colibri im also on benazapryl and a beta blocker similar to atenenol im on metoprelol and it was working well however inwas instructed to take the metoprelol 2 times a day which i dodn not now i am cause my heart rate was still to fast its usually around 140/150 at rest also i take 2 mlgs of xanax which really helps slow down my heart rate amd blood pressure however i smoke a lot my diet is really healthy but i think your regime is a good 1 however everyone's body different good luck
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  • Posted

    I've only been on Amlodipine (plus Benicar 20) for about 3 weeks but have had no side effects.  My bp went from 160/105 to 116/64.  So far, I'm perfectly satisfied.  I'm going in for a colonoscopy in 2 weeks and plan to go off of the bp meds a few days prior, just to make sure there is not going to be any drug interaction.  I don't want to lose this drug combo, because it works so well for me.
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  • Posted

    - Colibri,

    Yes, your havent been alone in suffering with this drug, I myself had a dreadfull time, before I took it as prescribed I was (relatively) heathly but with high bp. About a week into the med I had red inflamed knees & shins, swollen ankles, burning feeelings in my kness and joints, poor sleep, poor thought patterns ete etc.

    I too myself off and it took about a week to feel normal again.

    The syptoms you mention, in my opinion, are very dangerous for you- simple logic dictates that. You will need to confer with your doc and get another prescription.

    I myself am going down the weight loss/ healthy eating, low salt diet regime but be warned if you try that you will need to be 99% dedicated to it to get benefits, and if you like a drink keep it down to a minimum level. good luck Ivan.

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    • Posted

      Wow, Ivan, you give me hope! These horrible symptoms can pass in time.

      If you read my comment at the end of these, my doc has given up on me. I am full-heartedly (no pun intended) with you in your last paragraph. I've found salt to be a big factor - I have to shop at a special health-food grocery for no-salt, low-salt everything. It really makes a difference! I ate something salty (by accident) yesterday and my BP is 160/100 this morning!!! I'm going for a long walk in a few minutes then a hot, sweaty bath!!

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    • Posted

      Hello Colibri,

      Yes your synptoms will pass but as you have been on the drug for some time unlike myself you wll hav to keep a watch out for rebound hypertension which can be dangerous, I tapered off slowly over a week or so. ....With salt in food its amazing just how much there is when you look! And, as you say, how you can tast it straight away if you have it in foodstuffs unawares, as an update I am now on Indapamide 1.5mg as a last resort from my gp. I will post here again when I have an update. Seems I just cannot tolerate ace inhibitors etc so this combined with a new diet and lifestyle I'm hopefull will do the trick.

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    • Posted

      Oh Ivan, believe me! I know about the rebound hypertension! I've been fighting it every day. I sometimes wake up in the early hours of the morning with 170+/110+ (terrified, my head feels like it's going to explode), apparently when the alprazolam (Xanax), benazepril (Lotensin), and losartan (Cozaar) I took at bedtime wear off.

      I'm dealing with frightening hypertension that was never this high before - thanks to the vengeful rebound of going "cold turkey" on the amlodipine - fighting it with a barrage of anti-hypertensives. My doctor did call back and remind me to keep my supplements of magnesium high (no less than 400mg a day, which I already take - it's the RDA), as magnesium will act as a calcium-channel blocker, though not as potent as amlodipine, and its only side effect is drowsiness (unless you take magnesium oxide, which is like taking a quick laxative!), Mg glycinate, aspartate, or orotate are the best choices. I doubled my magnesium, and I definitely have increased control of my BP (but I stay drowsy all day). My BP is still too high (it peaks in the high 150s/90s now), but it's gradually coming down, even faster with the extra magnesium. I finally got it down to about 130/82 this afternoon, but of course, I'll have to keep on it until the "amlodipine effect" is completely gone. Is it any wonder it's banned in Europe?

      You're right about salt! I've been on no/low salt food for so long, that regularly salted food burns my tongue - I can't eat it.

      Best of luck with your new regimen. I truly hope everything works out for the best. You know I know your pain! Do post here how things go.

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