You are taking amlodipine for your high blood pressure or chest pain for some time now. And you are experiencing a swollen ankle or feet after taking the drug. It can get really bothersome. And that is what made you decide to stop the drug.
Are you wondering now how long for swelling to go down after stopping amlodipine?
Amlodipine induced swelling is very common and generally goes away by itself within one or two weeks at most. Although, the time period differs for every patient as everyone has a unique condition. You should not worry too much about the swelling if it does not hinder your daily activities. But some conditions call for a visit to your doctor.
Did that pique your interest? Read on to know everything you need to know about amlodipine induced swelling or edema. We do promise a smooth ride, so hop on!
Table of Content
What Is Amlodipine
If you are already prescribed Amlodipine, then you probably have some heart conditions.
Amlodipine is a prescription medicine. It is used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension), certain types of angina (chest pain) and Coronary Artery Disease. Both adults and children are prescribed Amlodipine, although children are rarely diagnosed with these diseases.
Amlodipine is functionally a Calcium channel blocker. It contains amlodipine besylate and normally found in oral tablet form.
The generic name Amlodipine is basically found in the market named as Norvasc. It’s the brand name for the drug in the US.
If you have high blood pressure or chest pain, your doctor might suggest some other drugs along with Amlodipine to relieve your condition. It’s normally not prescribed as the only treatment.
Is Swelling After Amlodipine Normal?
Just like any other drug, Amlodipine has its own series of side effects. And swelling (edema) is the most common of them all.
You might have already read horror stories on its side effects online. If you are on the drug for a while, that is.
So it is not abnormal if you are taking Amlodipine for some time and suddenly notice your body parts swelled up. Generally you would see your ankles, feet, lower legs and arms getting affected by this edema or swelling.
It is mainly because of gravity, that your lower body parts swell up more than the others.
So don’t get very overwhelmed once you face this side effect. Because almost everyone on amlodipine has complained of this problem.
But you should keep in mind the severity of your side effects depends on some factors.
- the prescribed dose
- severity of your condition
- other non related health conditions
- other medications taken simultaneously
So do not get agitated when you see you are experiencing ankle swelling!
Other Side Effects of Amlodipine
Now how can you be sure your swelling came from taking Amlodipine? It could be for a completely different reason as well. Congestive Heart Failure, Liver Cirrhosis, and certain Kidney diseases can cause edema as well.
If you want to exclude those reasons, you should probably compare your symptoms with other side effects of Amlodipine. Except the swelling one, of course.
If you see you are currently experiencing any of these along with the swelling, you can be sure the swelling is from Amlodipine itself.
Here is a list provided below so you can check and compare your own symptoms, if you are on Amlodipine!
Mild Side Effects
We have sub classified all the side effects into two categories. The mild ones are as follows.
- Belly Pain
- Drowsiness (sleepiness or tiredness)
- Fatigue (lack of energy)
- Flushing (temporary redness and warmth in skin)
- Heart Palpitations (fast beats)
- Erectile Dysfunction
- Joint Pain
- Hair loss
- Weight Gain
Severe Side Effects
Severe side effects of Amlodipine are very rare and uncommon. But sometimes they are reported by the patients.
If you are having any of these following side effects after taking Amlodipine, you should consult your doctor right away. And if you feel it is a medical emergency, call 911 or your own local emergency number for help.
- Allergic Reactions
- Angina (chest pain)
- Low Blood Pressure
- Heart Attack
You will not be facing these normally, and a very rare percentage of people are allergic to Amlodipine. But you should still be on guard and monitor your health conditions after you start taking any kind of drug.
Why And How Exactly The Swelling Forms After Starting Amlodipine?
By now we have realized how it is completely normal to get swelling from Amlodipine. Some you might be very interested in knowing how this swelling actually forms. Let me explain in brief here!
We know that amlodipine is a calcium channel blocker, right? This group of drugs work by blocking the calcium channel of your cell membrane. This phenomenon ultimately dilates the arteries. But the veins do not get dilated at the same time.
This difference between arterial and venous dilatation causes increased capillary hydrostatic pressure and decreased osmotic pressure. And as a result, edema forms.
The swelling you see is basically the exudate (main component is water) coming out from inside the cell to the space between two cells.
And thus, the part of your body where the fluid accumulates, becomes swollen. If you press a finger on your swollen ankle, you will see a pit-like shape has formed around your finger. After removing pressure, it comes back to its original swelled up form.
Seems like we covered all the how’s and why’s. So let us move on to how long it takes for the swelling to go away if you are experiencing Amlodipine side effects.
How Long for Swelling to Go Down After Stopping Amlodipine?
This question does not have any definite answer. Normally the swelling persists as long as you are on Amlodipine. But after stopping the drug, it takes a week or two for most people.
Then again, the persisting period of side effects depends on the factors mentioned before. Your age, health conditions and other drugs you are taking plays a big part here.
So let’s say you do not have any other health problems except the one you are taking amlodipine for. And you are between 30-50 years old. Then you can expect the swelling to go down in 10-12 days after stopping Amlodipine.
But if it doesn’t go away after 2 weeks, you should probably consult your healthcare provider.
Things You Can Do To Reduce The Swelling By Yourself
We know how bothersome the swelling can get at times. You have difficulty walking, sitting or even standing sometimes. So it would be really helpful if you could do something yourself about it, right?
Worry not, we have listed a few DIYs for you!
- Wear compression stockings or wraps around the swollen area
Keeping the area under light pressure will help your swelling to subside slowly. Since the swelling is caused by fluid accumulating in your tissue, the extra pressure will help spread it to the surrounding area.
So do think about investing in compression stockings and wraps if you are taking Amlodipine for your high blood pressure.
- Keep your swollen area elevated
Normally it is the lower parts of your body that get swollen due to Amlodipine. It is solely because of gravity.
If you keep your feet, ankle or legs elevated, then the fluid will move back up your body. Since normally our feet stay closer to the ground, most of the edema cases are seen around the legs.
Using two pillows under your feet while sleeping could do the trick for you!
- Move your swollen part
If you keep the swollen part static, the edema fluid will not move at all and remain at that site. This is why it is encouraged to move your swollen ankle or feet as gently as possible for some period of time.
This will help in blood circulation and thus the fluid accumulation will get better as well.
- Massage the swollen area
Massaging the area will ensure better blood supply in the edematous area. More blood supply means more edema fluid will drain out through your blood.
So keep in mind to make a habit of massaging the swollen area regularly.
When Should You Consider Seeing Your Doctor
Amlodipine is an excellent drug of choice for treating high blood pressure and angina. But due to its side effects, mostly because of swelling, the patient’s compliance is not that satisfactory.
Many patients discontinue taking Amlodipine after experiencing edema. Even without consulting their doctors.
But the fact is, you should not deliberately do that. Discontinuing a drug might sound very easy, but is not very beneficial for you.
If you feel your condition is getting out of hand, then go visit your health consultant and ask them to adjust the dose for you.
How can you assess your condition when to go see your doctor?
- If you feel the swelling is being a problem for your daily activities like walking, standing.
- If you experience some other side effects along with the swelling.
- If you are having itching, rash, and red wheals on your skin, aka – allergic reactions
Once you consult with your physician, they will most likely reduce the dose for you. If they think that will not be enough, they will switch to another drug that does not cause such severe swelling – like cilnidipine.
Or else they will prescribe some diuretic drugs to reduce the edema along with Amlodipine.
Do note that all drugs are not equally effective in treating hypertension. That is why even if Amlodipine causes a little bit of swelling, it is still used as a preferred drug for high blood pressure.
Will drinking more water help with edema?
Answer : Yes. You should drink 8-10 glasses of water daily. It may seem counterintuitive. But getting enough fluids actually helps reduce the swelling. When your body is dehydrated, it holds onto the fluid it has left. This condition increases the swelling.
What are the withdrawal symptoms of amlodipine?
Answer : Stopping suddenly may cause your high blood pressure or chest pain to come back or get even worse than before. You should check with your doctor for the best way to reduce the dosage amount gradually. It will cause less rebound effects.
What happens if edema is left untreated?
Answer : If you leave your edema untreated, it can lead to increasingly painful swelling, stiffness, difficulty in walking, stretched or itchy skin, skin ulcers and scarring. The most important of them all, decreased blood circulation which may lead up to necrosis and gangrene in severe cases.
Amlodipine induced edema is very common in the patients who are prescribed the drug. If you are thinking how long it takes for the swelling to go down after stopping amlodipine, I hope this article could answer all your queries.
Stay hydrated and wear your masks while going out. Take care of your health until we cross paths again!