Medically reviewed on June 7, 2018
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
- Cardene IV
Available Dosage Forms:
Therapeutic Class: Antihypertensive
Pharmacologic Class: Calcium Channel Blocker
Chemical Class: Dihydropyridine
Uses For nicardipine
Nicardipine is used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension). High blood pressure adds to the workload of the heart and arteries. If it continues for a long time, the heart and arteries may not function properly. This can damage the blood vessels of the brain, heart, and kidneys, resulting in a stroke, heart failure, or kidney failure. High blood pressure may also increase the risk of heart attacks. These problems may be less likely to occur if blood pressure is controlled .
Nicardipine is a calcium channel blocker. It works by affecting the movement of calcium into the cells of the heart and blood vessels. As a result, nicardipine relaxes blood vessels and increases the supply of blood and oxygen to the heart while reducing its workload .
Nicardipine is available only with your doctor's prescription .
Before Using nicardipine
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For nicardipine, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to nicardipine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of nicardipine in the pediatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established .
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatrics-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of nicardipine in the elderly .
|All Trimesters||C||Animal studies have shown an adverse effect and there are no adequate studies in pregnant women OR no animal studies have been conducted and there are no adequate studies in pregnant women.|
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
Interactions with Medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are receiving nicardipine, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using nicardipine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
- St John's Wort
Using nicardipine with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
Interactions with Food/Tobacco/Alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other Medical Problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of nicardipine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Aortic stenosis (narrowing of a valve in your heart), severe—Should not be used in patients with this condition .
- Chest pain (angina) or
- Congestive heart failure or
- Heart disease or
- Pheochromocytoma (adrenal gland tumor)—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse .
- Kidney disease or
- Liver disease—Use with caution. The effects of nicardipine may be increased because of slower removal of the medicine from the body .
- Stroke, recent—Blood pressure–lowering effects of nicardipine may be increased
Proper Use of nicardipine
A nurse or other trained health professional will give you nicardipine. Nicardipine is given through a needle placed into one of your veins .
Precautions While Using nicardipine
Your doctor will only give you a few doses of nicardipine until your condition improves, and then you will be switched to another medicine that works the same way. If you have any concerns about this, talk to your doctor .
Nicardipine Side Effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
- Blurred vision
- dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up from a lying or sitting position suddenly
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- Bleeding, blistering, burning, coldness, discoloration of skin, feeling of pressure, hives, infection, inflammation, itching, lumps, numbness, pain, rash, redness, scarring, soreness, stinging, swelling, tenderness, tingling, ulceration, or warmth at site
- blood in urine
- cold sweats
- decreased urine
- dry mouth
- extra heartbeat
- fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse
- frequent urination
- increased thirst
- increased volume of pale, dilute urine
- irregular heartbeat
- loss of appetite
- mood changes
- muscle pain or cramps
- nausea or vomiting
- numbness or tingling in hands, feet, or lips
- shortness of breath
- Arm, back, or jaw pain
- black, tarry stools
- bleeding gums
- blood in urine or stools
- bone pain
- burning, dry, or itching eyes
- changes in skin color
- chest pain
- chest tightness or heaviness
- discharge, excessive tearing
- feeling of warmth or heat
- flushing or redness of skin, especially on face and neck
- headache, sudden and severe
- increased need to urinate
- pain, tenderness, or swelling of foot or leg
- passing urine more often
- pinpoint red spots on skin
- pounding in the ears slow or fast heartbeat
- redness, pain, or swelling of eye, eyelid, or inner lining of eyelid
- swelling around the eyes or the whole face
- troubled breathing
- unusual bleeding or bruising
Get emergency help immediately if any of the following symptoms of overdose occur:
Symptoms of overdose
- slurred speech
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- Acid or sour stomach
- continuing ringing or buzzing or other unexplained noise in ears
- excessive muscle tone
- hearing loss
- lack or loss of strength
- muscle stiffness
- muscle tension or tightness
- neck pain
- stomach discomfort, upset, or pain
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
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More about nicardipine
- Nicardipine Side Effects
- During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding
- Dosage Information
- Drug Images
- Drug Interactions
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- Drug class: calcium channel blocking agents
- Nicardipine Capsules
- Nicardipine Injection
- Nicardipine Sustained-Release Capsules
- Nicardipine (Advanced Reading)