Procardia is a brand name for the drug nifedipine, a calcium channel blocker that treats chest pain and high blood pressure.
The main active ingredient in Procardia is nifedipine, which belongs to a group of drugs called calcium channel blockers. These drugs can relax the smooth muscles in blood vessels, thus dilating them will allow blood to pass along smoothly. Facilitating blood flow reducees elevated blood pressure (hypertension) and removes additional pressure on the heart. More blood flow to the heart brings in more oxygen that relieves chest pain (angina).
High blood pressure is a serious condition that should be treated to avoid further damage to vital organs and to minimize the risk of a heart attack or a stroke.
Procardia only relieves symptoms of hypertension and angina, and does not “cure” the conditions. The medication should be complemented with regular exercise and dieting for the treatment to be effective on the long term.
Procardia may also be prescribed to treat complications from blood circulation disorders such as Raynaud’s syndrome.
Procardia is available as oral capsules and extended-release tablets.
How Procardia is prescribed will depend on physician recommendation. Physicians take into account age, the nature of the disease, the severity of the disease and response to treatment when prescribing a dose. Usually, Procardia treatment begins with a 10 mg dose.
Procardia should be taken three times a day with or without meals, or as instructed by a physician. The extended-release tablets should be taken on an empty stomach, about one or two hours before a meal.
Procardia extended-release tablets should be swallowed whole without chewing or crushing. Doing so would cause the entire dose to be absorbed by the body almost instantaneously, which contradicts the purpose of extended-release tablets.
Do not take more or less of Procardia than instructed. Take the medicine exactly as prescribed to avoid the risk of severe side effects.
Procardia should be taken regularly, even if the patient is not feeling sick or even when there is no chest pain.
Warnings and Precautions
Do not take Procardia if allergic to any of the ingredients in the drug or similar calcium channel blockers.
Seek medical advice before taking Procardia if pregnant, breastfeeding or attempting to get pregnant.
Procardia may not be safe for use in adults over 65 years of age.
Some herbal products, like St John’s Wort, and foods, like grapefruit, may not be safe with Procardia.
Procardia can cause adverse reactions with certain drugs, such as anticoagulants, antifungals and other heart medications. Disclose all medicines and herbal supplements to the prescribing physician.
Do not consume alcohol while taking Procardia as it can worsen the side effects of the drug.
Procardia may cause one or more of the following side effects:
Decreased sex drive
Faster than normal heartbeat
Swelling in ankles
Side effects are not limited to the above. Some side effects may be worse than others.
Immediately seek medical care if side effects worsen or persist over time.