The best time to take amlodipine
Amlodipine is a generic medication that treats high blood pressure (hypertension), which affects about half of all adults in the United States.
If you take amlodipine to manage your blood pressure levels, you may wonder what’s the best time to take this medication. It’s usually taken once per day, but research is mixed on when the best time to take amlodipine is and whether it’s more effective to take it in the morning or evening.
It is important simply to remain consistent when taking your medication, no matter what time you choose to take it.
How does amlodipine work?
Amlodipine is a medication commonly prescribed to treat high blood pressure, which affects about 119.9 million people in the United States, and chest pain (angina). It belongs to a class of drugs known as calcium channel blockers.
Amlodipine works by relaxing and widening blood vessels, allowing for the easier flow of blood. Your muscles need calcium to contract, so medications such as amlodipine that block calcium cause the muscles to relax. This means your heart doesn’t have to work as hard to pump blood through your body.
Amlodipine is available as a generic drug but also under the brand names Katerzia and Norvasc. It comes in tablet or liquid form. Amlodipine can be prescribed alone or in combination with other drugs. When combined with other drugs, it’s sold under brand names like:
- Azor (amlodipine, olmesartan)
- Caduet (amlodipine, atorvastatin)
- Exforge (amlodipine, valsartan)
- Exforge HCT (amlodipine, hydrochlorothiazide, valsartan)
- Prestalia (amlodipine, perindopril)
- Tribenzor (amlodipine, hydrochlorothiazide, olmesartan)
- Twynsta (amlodipine, telmisartan)
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What’s the best time to take it?
Research on the best time to take amlodipine is mixed. Older research from 2003 indicates that the best time to take amlodipine is in the morning, while more recent research from 2020 suggests the best time is in the evening.
The 2020 study, which looked into more than 19,000 people taking the medication, points out that taking amlodipine in the evening reduced the risk of illness and death from cardiovascular conditions.
Also, a 2023 study found that taking amlodipine in the evening helped lower blood pressure during the night and decrease the risk of cardiovascular events like stroke.
The study noted, though, that more important than the time of day is taking the medication at a time that works for you and means you are less likely to forget to take it.
Perhaps what matters isn’t necessarily when you take amlodipine but that you take it at the same time every day and that you take it consistently. Medication adherence is key to managing chronic conditions like hypertension.
What’s more, amlodipine might cause you to feel tired, which is a listed side effect. If this is the case for you, you might prefer to take it before you go to sleep so that it doesn’t affect your waking hours too much.
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Side effects and drug interactions
Amlodipine can cause some side effects, which include:
- upset stomach or stomach pain
- swelling of your hands, feet, lower legs, and ankles due to fluid buildup
- dizziness or lightheadedness
If these symptoms persist, talk with a healthcare professional. Keep in mind that the medication can make you feel these adverse effects, particularly if you’re taking it to treat chest pain. This may last a couple of weeks, but it’s important to keep taking the medication. Keep your healthcare professional up to date about your symptoms.
The medication can also cause serious side effects, which include a rapid or irregular heartbeat, severe chest pain, and fainting.
If you experience any of these serious symptoms, visit your nearest emergency healthcare service and reach out to your healthcare professional. They can help determine whether you should continue taking amlodipine or switch to another medication.
Amlodipine can interact with other medications and supplements, which may affect the way the medication works or lead to adverse effects. If your doctor prescribes amlodipine, be sure to let them know if you’re taking:
- other calcium channel blockers like diltiazem or verapamil
- antifungal medicines
- medications to treat HIV and hepatitis C virus
- antiepilepsy drugs
- medication to lower cholesterol
- herbal remedies and supplements like St. John’s wort
Amlodipine is a common medication prescribed to treat high blood pressure. It’s a type of calcium channel blocker and works by relaxing the muscles in your blood vessels so blood can flow more easily.
Research about when is the best time to take amlodipine is mixed. Some research suggests that it’s best to take it in the morning to help lower blood pressure throughout the day when blood pressure tends to spike.
Other research says that it’s best to take it during the evening to regulate blood pressure levels while sleeping and prevent any cardiovascular events.
But, perhaps the most important thing is not when is the best time to take it but that you take it at the same time every day and when is most convenient for you to promote your sticking to your medication schedule.
Amlodipine starts working immediately after you begin taking it, but it can take from a week to a couple of weeks to exert its full effect.
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- Common questions about amlodipine. (2022). https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/amlodipine/common-questions-about-amlodipine/
- Amlodipine (2021). https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a692044.html
- Bulsara KG, et al. (2023). Amlodipine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK519508/
- Chobufo MD, et al. (2020). Prevalence and control rates of hypertension in the USA: 2017–2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7803011/
- Estimated hypertension prevalence, treatment, and control among U.S. adults. (2023). https://millionhearts.hhs.gov/data-reports/hypertension-prevalence.html
- Foley L, et al. (2021). Prevalence and predictors of medication non-adherence among people living with multimorbidity: a systematic review and meta-analysis. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8413882/
- Hermida RC, et al. (2020). Bedtime hypertension treatment improves cardiovascular risk reduction: The Hygia chronotherapy trial. https://academic.oup.com/eurheartj/article/41/48/4565/5602478
- Kleinsinger F. (2018). The unmet challenge of medication nonadherence. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6045499/
- Li R, et al. (2020). The effectiveness of self-management of hypertension in adults using mobile health: Systematic review and meta-analysis. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7148553/
- Liu J, et al. (2021). Dosing time matters? Nighttime vs. daytime administration of nifedipine gastrointestinal therapeutic system (GITS) or amlodipine on non-dipper hypertension: A randomized controlled trial of NARRAS. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8666540/
- Maqsood MH, et al. (2023). Timing of antihypertensive drug therapy: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.122.20862
- Qiu Y-G. et al. (2003). Differential effects of morning or evening dosing of amlodipine on circadian blood pressure and heart rate. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14618095/