For reasons that remain somewhat mysterious to us, amlodipine (Norvasc) is one of the most popular blood pressure medications in the pharmacy. This calcium channel blocker lowers blood pressure in part by interfering with the flow of calcium into artery walls. This helps dilate blood vessels in the heart and throughout the body.

Possible side effects associated with amlodipine include:

  • Swollen ankles
  • Fluid retention
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Flushing
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Palpitations
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Skin rash

A fascinating study called ALLHAT (Antihypertensive and Lipid-Lowering Treatment to Prevent Heart Attack Trial) involving over 33,000 participants revealed some curious data. An inexpensive diuretic called chlorthalidone was just as effective as pricier drugs like lisinopril (Prinivil or Zestril) or amlodipine (Norvasc) when it came to reducing complications of hypertension such as kidney or cardiovascular problems. More important, however, this diuretic was better able to prevent heart failure (Archives of Internal Medicine, May, 2009).

Heart failure is a very serious condition. Elizabeth Taylor just died from congestive heart failure and it is a difficult disease to treat. Because calcium channel blockers like amlodipine have been linked to a higher risk of heart failure (American Heart Journal, Jan, 2007), than diuretics like chlorthalidone, we think patients should be warned about this potential complication and other side effects associated with this medication.

One other word of caution. An article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (Feb. 22, 2011) has reported that when calcium channel blockers like amlodipine are combined with certain antibiotics such as erythromycin (E-Mycin) or clarithromycin (Biaxin) that the result can be a precipitous drop in blood pressure. This is particularly problematic for older people as it can cause serious dizziness or shock and lead to some very dangerous cardiovascular complications.

Below you will find reports from visitors to this website. Feel free to add your own experience (positive or negative) with regards to amlodipine.

Paul43, March 22, 1011:

I take amlodipine (Norvasc) and always have bouts of drowsiness. Is there another high blood pressure medication out there that would replace amlodipine without the drowsiness or do all blood pressure drugs cause drowsiness?

Vicki S, Feb. 20, 2010:

I have always had a problem with any kind of medicine since I was young. I am now on only two medicines for BP: atenolol and amlodipine. I suffer severe headaches and debilitating flu like symptoms without the muscle aches. I experience dizziness to the point of being immobile.

No doctor seems concerned or able to find anything to help. They just don’t want to deal with it. How dangerous are these side effects and what should I do?

Tyler, Oct. 26, 2010:

On my doctor’s advice I took 10mg of amlodipine (Norvasc) along with Carvedilol for about a year to control high blood pressure. I am otherwise healthy.

After my feet began swelling, I put up with it for as long as I could, but stopped when it became too painful to walk. So I called my doctor and told his nurse that I was stopping the two drugs, and asked if there was something else I could take.

They called back and scheduled an appointment. When I saw the doctor a few days later, he said he would not prescribe a new drug at that time. HE NEVER MENTIONED ANY POSSIBLE PROBLEM FROM ABRUPTLY STOPPING THE AMLODIPINE. About 10 days later I developed extreme “rebound hypertension,” with BP soaring to as high as 220 over 118.

Two weeks later, I am STILL struggling with high hypertension!! These doctors cause more problems than they solve by failing to give patients the info they need to make intelligent health decisions. Had I been warned, I would NOT have stopped the drugs abruptly, but sought advice on how to wean myself off of them.

Janice, June 25, 2009:

I have been taking many medicines for my blood pressure. Currently I am taking Metoprolol ER Succinate (100 MG), Diovan (320 MG), Hydroclorothiazide (12.5 MG), Levothyroxine (0.05 MG), and Amoldopine Besylate (5 MG) for my blood pressure.

My problem is that recently the Amoldopine Besylate was added. I have been smelling cigarette smoke which is not there.

I thought maybe I was going crazy until I went on the internet and saw that someone else was having the same senses, but it was with a different medicine. I would like to know if any of my medicines are causing this. It is weird. I work in a smoke free environment, yet I walk into the doctors offices and smell smoke and I am the only one smelling it.

Jimmybw, Jan. 23, 2011:

Interesting. I noticed the past two years that my feet get really cold at night. I never linked it to my medications. I checked with my Doctor, and he believed it could be a side effect of the Amlodipine. In fact, he was having the same issue with the drug.

What caught my eye here was the comment about smelling cigarette smoke. I’ve noticed it as well. I thought someone may have been outside my home smoking, but never saw anyone.

SW, Oct, 2007:

I have taken Norvasc for 15 years without any problems. The new generic Amlodipine Besylate caused me to have every side effect listed, headache, dizziness, nausea and swelling of the feet and ankles. Unfortunately since there is now a generic available the cost of Norvasc is sky high.


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  1. loletha

    While on this medication i experience extremely high heartbeat up to 120 and anxiety I knew immediately it was from this drug, i stopped it 1 week later.

  2. Richard
    Atlanta, Georgia

    I have tingling feet and Amlodipine does not lower my blood pressure. I also take Valsartan/HCTZ which does work.

    • Mary

      Thanks. I am wondering what can replace amlodphine? It appears that it isn’t doing a great job lowering my BP anyway.

  3. Joe

    Have been taking Amlodipine 5mg for six weeks. My bp measurements after a month were an average of 140/85 a reduction from previous average prior to taking meds of 160/90.
    I have been troubled by tingling (like nettle rash) in lower legs mainly, which seems worse after exercise. I have stopped taking amlodipine and after four days the tingling persists.
    Going back to GP to discuss side effects and possible alternative medication to amlodipine. After my experience with the tingling I am reluctant to start on another and would prefer to keep up the exercise and make necessary changes to lifestyle.
    I have heard that Crataegus (Hawthorn) capsules or tincture is good for heart and blood pressure. Anyone had any experience of using this?

  4. marilyn

    I seem to be putting on more weight with this med.

  5. Debbie

    I’m on 3 different BP meds. The latest one prescribed is Norvasc (Amlodipine) my Dr started me out on 5mg and after a few months bumped it up to 10mg. I have been so scared and wondering what on earth is going on with my feet! They burn like their on fire at times and now my ankles and lower legs get red and swollen when I stand or walk. It wakes me up at night the burning numbness tingling.. I’m just so thankful that I have read that others have felt the same thing. I thought maybe it was all in my head. I’m 45 I’m not over weight and am trying to walk daily. I work on my feet and can’t hardy wait to get my shoes off!!! My feet burn:( going to call the Dr. ASAP

    • Mary

      Have you had a visit with the doctor yet? If so, what did he suggest?

  6. James
    Ocala, FL

    I’m taking Lisinopril 40 mgs once a day or Amlodopine 5 mg, two a day if I run out of the Lisinopril (out of the country). Lately I have developed a nagging cough and swollen ankles with a sharp pain under my right foot.

    • sharon

      You have a side effect they call peripheral’s horrible and you need to take lyrica or something like that to try and control it.This medicine dulls the tingling, cold,zapping,numbingandnumbing burning sensations you feeling… it may take some time before it starts working but it is well worth it.I see in the list up side effects it is there peripheral neuropathy. See a neurologist..they will tell you it has happened to me..I have just been enlightened from this article that it is how I got mine.

  7. Aananthi

    I’ve been on norvasc 10mg since 2013 and the drug works well on me except for my ankle swelling which I feel very hard to tolerate with untill now. Is there any solution for that?

  8. jan

    Been taking novas generic for 5 years and I developed a very chronic cough. I cough so much that I vomit at times. Tho they treated me for acid reflux and other things but I know its just medicine is so bad at times I feel like I’m choking. I know it’s this medicine. I stop for one week. I developed a headache so bad it led me to the emergency room. I was advised to start taking the medicine again once I took the medicine again I begin to cough again there is a filler in this medicine that will make you cough once I stop the medicine for a week I noticed a cough went away, at times I’m afraid that I may chock from all the coughing. I have scheduled appointment tomorrow to see another doctor.

    • Gail

      I too have the dry cough. I thought it was from smoking,but I didn’t have it till I took 7.5MG of norvasc( IC AMLODIPINE BESYLATE ) It drives me crazy.

  9. Carol

    Hi I am new here. I have been on Norvasc for 5 years and during this time have been having increased PN, dizzy spells and palpitations which I blamed on my Lupus and on other meds. I stopped all the other meds, but the symptoms continued. I now feel they are side effects of the Norvasc which did control my blood pressure, but at what costs? Thank you all for sharing your thoughts ?

  10. Shirley

    Amazed at the number of side effects from amlodipine that I’ve been having but thinking it just me and my health issues. So thankful to find this site!!!

  11. linda

    i’ve been taking amlodipine for 5 years i’m all bumpy,itchy and my skin is shedding like a snake my dr. took me off of it in june but my skin is still the same way how long does it take for my skin to get back right and the hot burning needles flashes.

  12. Lisa

    I have been taking this meds for about almost a year I think. One thing I know for sure is that it does help lower your blood pressure. I am overweight, not much but I told my doctor that I don’t want to be on this meds for the rest of my life.

    I am trying to lose weight and stay away from salt. I experience warmth of the face and hands, dizziness, but not that bad. I even had to go to a cardiologist because I was experiencing heart palpitations only at night at bedtime. I know all my symptoms was expected to happen. I just feel not in control lol. I hate feeling lost and clueless about stuff. I know these pills are the cause, but my doc said that my meds are not doing anything but what they are supposed to do, and that’s lowering your blood pressure… yeah stay on your meds and do all that you can to get off. Lose weight, stop worry etc…

  13. Nancy

    I have been taking 5mg of Amlodipine for one month with 100 mg of metoprolol and 25mcg of Levothyroxine for some time. After 20 days of the Amlodipine I developed a rash on my neck, chest and two spots on my face. They itch really bad and would not get better for one week.

    I went to the Dr. And he prescribed a cream to put on the rash twice a day. It did nothing. I was using alum which helped me the most and a spray lanacane for the itching. Nine more days went by and I could of handle it. The rash was now on my legs inside and where my underpants would rub. It started also on my arms. I called the Dr. once again and he wanted to give me a drug for the rash now and the itching, I told him the only thing new I had was the BP Ned’s that were new. He did not think that would cause a rash.

    I told him I was going to stop the drug. He said for me to stay off it for the weekend and see how it went, I also monitor my BP at home for some time. Blood pressure meds do not do well with me. The metoprolol is the only one I can stand, I have had three others before the Amlodipine and all of them Gave me side effects. My pressure has been in the low 130’s over 68-74. Maybe my pressure should be in the 130’s. I feel much better now and have more energy and am sleeping better without all the additional BP drugs. Doctors don’t have all the answers, we have to listen to our bodies. I really have learned to pay attention to mine.

    • Doyle
      Southhaven MS

      I also take Amlodipine, and I itch as well. It is driving me crazy. I’m going to see if my doctor will take me off and prescribe something different

  14. Judith

    I have been taking amlodipine for awhile and I have horrible flushing and hot feeling in my face. Does anyone else experience this?

    • Nancy

      Yes I had the hot face as well. Since I have hot flashes I don’t know about flushing unless one of my BP mess is causing that as well.

    • Jenefer W.

      I have hot flushes and a dry cough that drives me insane. I know it is the medication as it is the only one I am on and have just started it and I never had it before. The Pharmacist advised me to cut the tab in half until my body get used to it… what does one do? I am sensitive to any meds, any suggestions will be welcome also it is worrying me. Jen

    • Debbie

      My feet are hot and on fire! My legs in blotches too

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