Amlodipine, sold under the brand name Norvasc, belongs to a class of medications called calcium channel blockers. Amlodipine is mainly used to treat high blood pressure and angina caused by coronary heart disease. Amlodipine relaxes blood vessels so the heart does not have to pump as hard. Amlodipine also increases blood flow to the heart, which relieves chest pain. Amlodipine might affect blood glucose levels.
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Blood Glucose and Amlodipine
Amlodipine might cause hyperglycemia, or increased blood glucose levels, according to Drugs.com. Glucose is the main source of energy for the body.The body produces glucose from the breakdown of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. High levels of blood glucose can cause damage to blood vessels and body organs. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, helps the body control blood glucose levels. Healthy people are able to lower high blood glucose levels caused by amlodipine, but diabetics might have problems. Amlodipine should be used cautiously in patients with diabetes.
Symptoms of Hyperglycemia
Patients with a blood glucose level higher than 160 mg/dl are considered to have hyperglycemia. Amlodipine causes short-term hyperglycemia. Blood glucose levels return to normal when the drug is discontinued. Symptoms of hyperglycemia caused by amlodipine include increased thirst, frequent urination, increased hunger, blurred vision, fatigue and dry mouth. Chronic hyperglycemia is common in patients with diabetes.
Amlodipine is available as an oral tablet that is taken once daily. Amlodipine should be taken around the same time each day. Diabetics should check their blood glucose levels before and after taking amlodipine. Patients taking amlodipine should be aware of the signs of hyperglycemia and report them to their doctor.
Side Effects of Amlodipine
Patients taking amlodipine might experience common side effects such as headache, dizziness, drowsiness, flushing, upset stomach and excessive fatigue, according to Drugs.com. Other adverse effects of amlodipine include swelling of the hands, feet, ankles and lower legs; rapid, pounding heartbeat; fainting; chest pain and pain that spreads to the arm or shoulder. Patients who experience these symptoms should seek immediate medical help.