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Norvasc belongs to a class of medicines called calcium channel blockers. Because they are usually well-tolerated, these drugs have made the treatment of angina and high blood pressure easier.

Norvasc is prescribed to treat high blood pressure alone or in combination with other blood pressure pills. It is also helpful for certain forms of angina.

Side Effects and Interactions

Norvasc is usually well tolerated with few side effects, but some people react to this drug with fluid retention, leading to swelling of the legs, feet or hands.

Dizziness, heart palpitations, flushing or drowsiness may also occur, and women appear especially susceptible.

Other side effects include headache, weakness or fatigue, nausea, rash, itching, indigestion, muscle cramps, and sexual difficulties. Report any symptoms or suspected side effects to your physician promptly.

Norvasc has remarkably few interactions with other drugs. Grapefruit or grapefruit juice can boost blood levels of Norvasc slightly.

It is wise to check with your doctor and pharmacist to make sure this medicine is safe in combination with any other drugs you take.

Special Precautions

People with liver disease may need a lower dose of Norvasc, as may the elderly.

Patients with congestive heart failure must be monitored closely if they take any calcium channel blocker.

Taking the Medicine

Norvasc may be taken with or without meals, once a day.

Do not stop taking Norvasc suddenly, as this could lead to complications. Your doctor will tell you how to taper off gradually if you no longer need this medication.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.”.
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