Amlodipine -- How does it Work?

What is Amlodipine?

Amlodipine is a drug that relaxes the body’s blood vessels allowing blood to flow more easily, reducing blood pressure, and making it easier for the heart to pump blood.

Amlodipine helps treat high blood pressure (hypertension) in cats and dogs. Along with treating high blood pressure, amlodipine is also used to treat dogs with congestive heart failure. This medication widens the arteries and takes stress off the heart by making it easier for the heart to pump blood through the body. In addition, amlodipine can treat high blood pressure in the arteries that lead in and out of the lungs, known as pulmonary hypertension.

How do I give my pet amlodipine?

This medication comes in pill form and a flavored liquid. Amlodipine can be given once or twice daily with food. This drug must be given to your pet in the dosage prescribed by your veterinarian. Amlodipine can be taken with other medications to treat heart disease when instructed by CVCA.

Never skip doses as blood pressure could quickly rise again. If you miss a dose, give it to your pet as soon as you remember, if it is not too close to the next scheduled dose. It is important to never give your pet two doses at once.

What are the potential side effects?

Like most medications, it is possible for side effects to occur while taking amlodipine. If your pet experiences any of these side effects, please contact CVCA immediately. 

Side effects can include low blood pressure (systemic hypotension) resulting in a lack of energy, weakness, depression, or decreased appetite, as well as an elevated heart rate. Though uncommon, your pet could experience an overgrowth of the gums (gingival tissue) in the mouth. 

What are the risks when taking this medication?

Amlodipine is not appropriate for pets that are allergic to it, suffer from liver disease or are in shock. This drug should not be given to breeding pets or pregnant or nursing females.

Should my pet be monitored while on this medication?

Yes, your pet should be monitored while taking amlodipine. Blood pressure should be monitored at one week, then at one month after beginning the medication, and every three to four months after that to make sure of correct dosing.

What drug interactions should I be aware of while my pet is taking amlodipine?

Please let the doctors at CVCA know about all your pet’s medications before beginning a treatment that includes amlodipine. There is an increased risk of low blood pressure when amlodipine is combined with other drugs such as furosemide (Lasix®), ACE inhibitors like enalapril, and beta-blockers, including atenolol.

What are the standard dosages for amlodipine?

The most common method to give amlodipine to your pet is oral tablets. Standard dosages include 2.5mg, 5mg, and 10mg pill sizes.

What should I do in case of an overdose?

If your pet has ingested an overdose, emergency veterinary attention is immediately required.

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