Know the basics
What is nifedipine used for?
This medication is used to prevent certain types of chest pain (angina). It may allow you to exercise more and decrease the frequency of angina attacks. Nifedipine belongs to a class of medications known as calcium channel blockers. It works by relaxing blood vessels so blood can flow more easily. This medication must be taken regularly to be effective. It should not be used to treat attacks of chest pain when they occur. Use other medications (such as sublingual nitroglycerin) to relieve attacks of chest pain as directed by your doctor. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for details.
Older adults should discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with their doctor or pharmacist, as well as other possibly safer forms of nifedipine (such as the long-acting tablets).
OTHER USES: This section contains uses of this drug that are not listed in the approved professional labeling for the drug but that may be prescribed by yourhealth care professional. Use this drug for a condition that is listed in this section only if it has been so prescribed by your health care professional.
This medication may also be used to treat a certain blood circulation disorder (Raynaud’s syndrome).
How should I take nifedipine?
Take this medication by mouth, usually 3 times daily with or without food or as directed by your doctor. Swallow this medication whole. Do not crush, chew, or break the capsule.
The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. Your doctor may gradually increase your dose. Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully.
Avoid eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice while taking this medication unless your doctor instructs you otherwise. Grapefruit can increase the amount of certain medications in your bloodstream. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.
Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same times each day.
Tell your doctor if your condition worsens (for example, your chest pain worsens or is more frequent).
How do I store nifedipine?
Nifedipine is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store nifedipine in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of nifedipine that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.
You should not flush nifedipine down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.
Know the precautions & warnings
What should I know before using nifedipine?
Before taking nifedipine,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to nifedipine, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in nifedipine. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: acarbose (Prandase, Precose); anticoagulants (‘blood thinners’) such as warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven); antifungals such as fluconazole (Diflucan), itraconazole (Sporanox), and ketoconazole (Nizoral); beta blockers such as atenolol (Tenormin), labetalol (Trandate), metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL), nadolol (Corgard), propranolol (Inderal), and timolol (Blocadren); carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Epitol, Tegretol); cimetidine (Tagamet); digoxin (Lanoxin, Lanoxicaps); diltiazem (Cardizem); doxazosin (Cardura); erythromycin (E.E.S., E-Mycin, Erythrocin); fentanyl (Actiq, Duragesic, Fentora, Sublimaze); flecainide (Tambocor); HIV protease inhibitors including amprenavir (Agenerase), atazanavir (Reyataz), delavirdine (Rescriptor), fosamprenavir (Lexiva), indinavir (Crixivan), nelfinavir (Viracept), and ritonavir (Norvir, in Kaletra); metformin (Glucophage); nefazodone; phenobarbital (Luminal); phenytoin (Dilantin, Diphenylan Sodium); quinidine (Quinidex); quinupristin and dalfopristin (Synercid); rifampin (Rifadin, in Rifamate, in Rifater, Rimactane); rifapentine (Priftin); tacrolimus (Prograf); valproic acid (Depakene, Depakote); and verapamil (Calan, Covera, Isoptin, Verelan). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- tell your doctor what herbal products you are taking, especially St. John’s wort.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had a narrowing or blockage of your digestive system or any other condition that causes food to move through your digestive system more slowly; or heart, liver, or kidney disease. Also tell your doctor if you have had a myocardial infarction (MI) within the last 2 weeks.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking nifedipine, call your doctor.
- talk to your doctor about the safe use of nifedipine capsules if you are 65 years of age or older. Older adults should not usually take nifedipine capsules because they are not as safe as other medications that can be used to treat the same condition.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell your doctor or dentist that you are taking nifedipine.
- ask your doctor about the safe use of alcoholic beverages while you are taking n Alcohol can make the side effects from nifedipine worse.
Is it safe to take nifedipine during pregnancy or breast-feeding?
There isn’t enough information about the safety of using this medication during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking this medication.
Know the side effects
What are the side effects of nifedipine?
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:
- worsening angina;
- severe constipation and cramps, severe stomach pain or heartburn, coughing up blood;
- feeling like you might pass out;
- feeling short of breath, swelling in your hands or feet;
- fast or pounding heartbeats;
- numbness or tingly feeling;
- jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes); or
- chest pain or heavy feeling, pain spreading to the arm or shoulder, nausea, sweating, general ill feeling.
Less serious side effects may include:
- headache, dizziness;
- drowsiness, tired feeling;
- nausea, diarrhea mild constipation or stomach pain;
- sleep problems (insomnia);
- mild rash or itching;
- joint pain, leg cramps;
- warmth, redness, or tingly feeling under your skin; or
- urinating more than usual.
Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.
Know the interactions
What drugs may interact with nifedipine?
Nifedipine may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all prescription and nonprescription/herbal products you may use, especially of: phenytoin, quinidine,tacrolimus.
Other medications can affect the removal of nifedipine from your body, which may affect how nifedipine works. Examples include cimetidine, azole antifungals (such asitraconazole), macrolide antibiotics (such as erythromycin), rifamycins (such asrifabutin), St. John’s wort, drugs used to treat seizures (such as carbamazepine), among others.
Check the labels on all your medicines (such as cough-and-cold products, diet aids) because they may contain ingredients that could increase your heart rate and worsen chest pain (including caffeine, pseudoephedrine, phenylephrine). Ask your pharmacist about using these products safely.
Cimetidine is a nonprescription drug that is commonly used to treat extra stomach acid. Because cimetidine may interact with nifedipine, ask your pharmacist about other products to treat extra stomach acid.
Does food or alcohol interact with nifedipine?
Nifedipine may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug, especially grapefruit juice.
What health conditions may interact with nifedipine?
Nifedipine may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have, especially:
- Aortic stenosis (narrowing of a valve in your heart) or
- Bowel blockage, severe or
- Congestive heart failure or
- Coronary artery disease or
- Heart attack or
- Hypotension (low blood pressure)—Use with caution. May increase risk of serious side effects.
- Cardiogenic shock (shock caused by heart attack)—Should not be used in patients with these conditions.
- Galactose intolerance (rare hereditary problem) or
- Glucose-galactose malabsorption (rare hereditary problem) or
- Lapp lactase deficiency (rare hereditary problem)—The extended release tablet form of this medicine contains lactose (milk sugar), and should not be given to patients with these conditions.
- Kidney problems or
- Liver problems (including cirrhosis)—Use with caution. The effects of nifedipine may be increased because of the slower removal of the medicine from the body.
Understand the dosage
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using this medication.
What is the dose of nifedipine for an adult?
Usual Adult Dose for Hypertension
Extended release tablets: 30 to 60 mg orally once a day
Dosage can be increased gradually every 7 to 14 days.
Usual Adult Dose for Migraine Prophylaxis
Extended release tablets: 30 mg orally once a day
Immediate release capsules: 10 mg orally 3 times a day
Usual Adult Dose for Angina Pectoris Prophylaxis
Extended release tablets: 30 to 60 mg orally once a day
Immediate release capsules: 10 mg orally 3 times a day
Immediate release capsules: 10 to 30 mg orally 3 to 4 times a day
Usual Adult Dose for Congestive Heart Failure
Procardia XL (R): 30 to 60 mg orally once a day
Adalat (R) CC: 30 mg orally once a day
Usual Adult Dose for Premature Labor
The tocolytic properties of nifedipine have been evaluated in several studies. Doses used in these studies have ranged from 10 to 40 mg as an initial “one time” dose. Subsequent dosages have ranged from 10 to 20 mg every 6 to 8 hours as needed and tolerated to delay delivery.
What is the dose of nifedipine for a child?
Usual Pediatric Dose for Hypertensive Emergency
Immediate release capsules: 0.25 to 0.5 mg/kg/dose (maximum 10 mg/dose) repeated every 4 to 6 hours if necessary
Maximum dose: 1 to 2 mg/kg/day
Usual Pediatric Dose for Hypertension
Extended release tablets:
Children: 0.25 to 0.5 mg/kg/day in 1 to 2 divided doses; dose should be titrated to effect
Maximum dose: 3 mg/kg/day up to 120 mg/day (or 180 mg/day in some centers)
Usual Pediatric Dose for Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
Children: 0.6 to 0.9 mg/kg/24 hours in 3 to 4 divided doses
How is nifedipine available?
Nifedipine is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:
Tablet, ER: 30 mg, 60 mg, 90 mg
Capsule, Oral: 10 mg
What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?
In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.
Symptoms of overdose may include:
- fast heartbeat
- flushing (feeling of warmth)
- swelling of the hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- blurred vision
What should I do if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose of nifedipine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: May 30, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017
Nifedipine. https://www.drugs.com/nifedipine.html. Accessed July 14, 2016.
Nifedipine (Oral Route). http://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/nifedipine-oral-route/description/drg-20071680. Accessed July 14, 2016.
Nifedipine. http://patient.info/medicine/nifedipine. Accessed July 14, 2016.