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What is Nicardipine?

Nicardipine is a blood pressure medication that is classified as a calcium channel blocker. It helps reduces blood pressure by relaxing vessels and arteries so that blood can flow more consistently.  When the veins become restricted, blood can become trapped in the ventricles of the heart. This can cause it to swell and over work. If blood gets trapped in the heart, it can lead to serious problems and possibly heart attack. Nicardipine may help to prevent swelling and possible heart malfunctions.

Side Effects of Nicardipine

This medicine may cause moderate to severe side effects that include:

  • dizziness or lightheadedness
  • fainting
  • headache
  • hot or cold sweats
  • swelling of the feet, ankles and legs
  • headache
  • upset stomach or heartburn
  • excessive tiredness
  • flushing
  • numbness
  • fast heartbeat
  • muscle cramps
  • constipation
  • increased sweating
  • dry mouth

Immediate medical attention may be needed if any of the following symptoms occur, since they could be signs of an allergic reaction:

  • rash
  • fainting
  • difficulty breathing
  • troubles swallowing
  • swelling or itching of the tongue, lips, face or eyes
  • arm or leg swelling
  • irregular heart beat
  • abnormal chest pain

There are a few things your doctor needs to know before prescribing Nicardipine. If you have a history of allergic reaction to calcium channel blockers, heart problems, liver disease or kidney malfunction, this medicine may not work for you. Also inform your doctor of any other allergies, including food and other drugs.

Other medications may compromise the effects of Nicardipine, so the doctor should be informed if a patient is taking any prescription or over-the-counter medications, including vitamins and herbal supplements. If a patient is scheduled for surgery they should inform the surgeon that they are taking Nicardipine since it can interfere with certain surgical anesthetics.

Storage and Disposal

Make sure the cap is sealed tightly after every use. To avoid injury or overdose, store medication out of the reach of children and pets. Nicardipine may not work as well if exposed to bright light or moisture, so store it away from direct sunlight and away from damp places. Don’t store it in medicine cabinets that are directly over sinks or toilets, and avoid extreme heat or cold.

This medicine is intended to be used by only the person on the prescription. Don’t share this medicine or give away unused portions. Don’t flush left over medicine down toilets or sinks unless instructed otherwise. It is not advised to throw away unused portions of this medicine in at home trash containers. Ask your pharmacist for information about area disposal companies who specialize in proper handling methods.

Special Precautions

Since Nicardipine is known to cause dizziness, don’t drive or operate machinery, and refrain from using alcohol while on this medication until your body has become used to its effects.  Take extra care while bending over, or sitting and standing up since it could cause a fall. 

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