Medically reviewed on March 19, 2018
What is nifedipine?
Nifedipine is in a group of drugs called calcium channel blockers. It works by relaxing the muscles of your heart and blood vessels.
Nifedipine may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use this medicine if you are allergic to nifedipine, if you have severe coronary artery disease, or if you have had a heart attack within the past 2 weeks.
To make sure nifedipine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
congestive heart failure; or
It is not known whether nifedipine will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
Nifedipine can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
The nifedipine extended-release tablet may contain lactose. Talk to your doctor before using this form of nifedipine if you have galactose intolerance, or severe problems with lactose (milk sugar).
How should I take nifedipine?
Follow all directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
You may need to take an extended-release tablet on an empty stomach. Follow the directions on your medicine label about taking this medication with or without food.
Do not crush, chew, or break an extended-release tablet. Swallow it whole.
Your blood pressure will need to be checked often and you may need other blood tests at your doctor's office.
Some tablet forms of nifedipine are made with a shell that is not absorbed or melted in the body. Part of the tablet shell may appear in your stool. This is a normal side effect of nifedipine and will not make the medication less effective.
If you need surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time that you are using nifedipine. You may need to stop using the medicine at least 36 hours before surgery.
If you are also taking a beta-blocker (atenolol, carvedilol, labetalol, metoprolol, nadolol, nebivolol, propranolol, sotalol, and others) you should not stop using the beta-blocker suddenly or you could have serious heart problems that will not be prevented by nifedipine. Follow your doctor's instructions about tapering your beta-blocker dose.
You should not stop using nifedipine suddenly. Stopping suddenly may make your condition worse.
If you are being treated for high blood pressure, keep using this medication even if you feel well. High blood pressure often has no symptoms. You may need to use blood pressure medication for the rest of your life.
Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while taking nifedipine?
Avoid getting up too fast from a sitting or lying position, or you may feel dizzy. Get up slowly and steady yourself to prevent a fall.
Nifedipine side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;
pounding heartbeats or fluttering in your chest;
chest pain or heavy feeling, pain spreading to the jaw or shoulder, nausea, sweating, general ill feeling;
swelling in your ankles or feet; or
upper stomach pain, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
Common side effects may include:
flushing (warmth, redness, or tingly feeling);
weakness, headache, mood changes;
tremors, muscle cramps; or
cough, wheezing, sore throat, stuffy nose.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect nifedipine?
Other drugs may interact with nifedipine, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
Copyright 1996-2018 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 12.01.
More about nifedipine
- Nifedipine Side Effects
- During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding
- Dosage Information
- Drug Images
- Drug Interactions
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- Drug class: calcium channel blocking agents