Nifedipine – Oral

Why do I need this medicine?

Nifedipine helps to keep your blood pressure under control. Nifedipine relaxes your blood vessels and this helps to lower your blood pressure. It may be used on its own or together with other medicines.

 

Nifedipine may also be used to treat other conditions, for example, chest pain or a blood circulation problem called Raynaud’s phenomenon.

 

How do I take this medicine?

Take Nifedipine exactly as directed by your doctor or according to the instructions on the label. Do not take more or less than instructed by your doctor.

 

You may take Nifedipine with or without food. Try to take it at the same time each day.

 

If you are taking the extended-release or long-acting form of Nifedipine (usually labelled as “XL”, “LA”, “MR”, “SR” or “Retard”), swallow it whole. Do not break, chew or crush the tablet or capsule.

 

Nifedipine must be taken regularly for it to work well. Continue taking Nifedipine even when you feel better. Do not stop taking it unless instructed by your doctor.

 

What should I do if I have forgotten to take this medicine?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and return to your normal schedule.

 

DO NOT double a dose under any circumstances.

 

If you often forget to take your medicine, let your doctor and pharmacist know.

 

When should I not use this medicine?

Alert your doctor if you had a heart attack less than 1 month ago as Nifedipine may not be suitable for you.

 

What should I take note of while taking this medicine?

Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:

 

– diabetes

– liver disease

– heart disease e.g. heart failure, aortic stenosis (narrowing of the heart valves)

– digestive tract disease e.g. obstruction of the bowels or inflammatory bowel disease

 

Let your doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

 

With the extended-release or long-acting form of Nifedipine, you may see a small tablet-shaped casing in your stool. This is normal; do not be alarmed. This casing is just an empty shell; the medicine inside it has already been absorbed by your body.

 

If you are going for an operation, including minor surgery and dental work, inform your doctor or dentist that you are taking Nifedipine.

 

Keep your appointments with your doctor. Your blood pressure may rise to unsafe levels without you noticing it. Your doctor needs to monitor your condition and check your response to the medication regularly.

 

What lifestyle changes can I make to improve my blood pressure?

 

Regular exercise and eating a healthy diet will help lower your blood pressure and improve your overall health. Engage in physical activity (e.g. walking) at least 30 to 60 minutes on most days of the week. If you have not exercised for a long time, start with light exercises such as slow walks. Speak to your doctor about what type of exercise would be suitable for you. Follow a healthy diet plan by eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products and reduce your intake of foods high in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. Cutting down on deep-fried foods and using less salt when cooking can kick-start your healthy diet.

 

If you smoke, you should try to quit. Smoking is harmful to your blood pressure, heart and overall health. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist about ways to kick your smoking habit.

 

What side effects could I experience?

Nifedipine may cause dizziness. If affected, do not drive or take part in any activity in which you need to be alert. You may feel dizzy when getting up from a sitting or lying down position. It will help if you get up slowly.

 

Nifedipine may also cause headache, flushing, fast heartbeat and swelling of the ankles, feet or hand. To reduce swelling in the ankles or feet, elevate your legs by putting a pillow under your feet when lying down.

 

Other side effects include any of the following: nausea, stomach discomfort, constipation, tiredness and gum swelling. To minimise gum swelling, observe good oral hygiene by regularly brushing and flossing your teeth.

 

Some side effects may be serious, although they are not common. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience:

 

– irregular heartbeat

– worsening chest pain

 

Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.

 

Can I take this with other medicines?

Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any of these medicines:

 

– rifampicin (medicine to treat TB – lung infection known as tuberculosis)

– other medicines for high blood pressure or heart disease e.g. digoxin, ditiazem

– antibiotics e.g. erythromycin, clarithromycin

– medicines to treat fungal infection e.g. itraconazole, ketoconazole

– medicines for HIV infection e.g. indinavir, ritonavir

– medicines for Hepatitis C infection e.g. boceprevir

– medicines for epilepsy (fits) e.g. phenytoin, carbamazepine

– cimetidine (gastric medicine)

– ciclosporin (medicine used in organ transplant or certain immune disorders)

 

This list does not include all medicines that may interact with Nifedipine.

 

Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicine, supplements and medicines that you buy without a prescription.

 

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Avoid alcohol and grapefruit juice.

 

How should I store this medicine?

Store in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children.

 

Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.