niCARdipine (generic name)

Cardene (brand name)

It affects the amount of calcium found in your heart and muscle cells
(nye KAR de peen)
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What is this medicine?

NICARDIPINE (nye KAR de peen) is a calcium-channel blocker. It affects the amount of calcium found in your heart and muscle cells. This relaxes your blood vessels, which can reduce the amount of work the heart has to do. This medicine is used to treat high blood pressure.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
  • heart problems, low blood pressure, slow or irregular heartbeat
  • kidney disease
  • liver disease
  • previous heart attack
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to nicardipine, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

Take this medicine by mouth with a glass of water. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Do not crush or chew. Take this medicine with food. Avoid taking this medicine with fatty foods. They can interfere with the effect of this medicine. Take your doses at regular intervals. Do not take your medicine more often then directed. Do not stop taking except on your doctor's advice.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.

What may interact with this medicine?

Do not take Nicardipine with any of the following:
  • cisapride
  • pimozide

This medicine may also interact with the following medications:

  • cimetidine
  • cyclosporine
  • digoxin
  • fentanyl
  • grapefruit juice
  • local anesthetics or general anesthetics
  • medicine for high blood pressure or heart problems

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

Visit your doctor or health care professional for regular check ups. Check your blood pressure and pulse rate regularly. Ask your doctor or health care professional what your blood pressure and pulse rate should be and when you should contact him or her.

You may get drowsy or dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs mental alertness until you know how this medicine affects you. Do not stand or sit up quickly, especially if you are an older patient. This reduces the risk of dizzy or fainting spells. Alcohol may interfere with the effect of this medicine. Avoid alcoholic drinks.

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?

Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
  • blood in the urine
  • difficulty breathing
  • fast heartbeat, palpitations, irregular heartbeat, chest pain
  • redness, blistering, peeling or loosening of the skin, including inside the mouth
  • reduced amount of urine passed
  • skin rash
  • swelling of the legs and ankles

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • constipation
  • facial flushing
  • headache
  • weakness or tiredness

Where should I keep my medicine?

Keep out of the reach of children.

Store at room temperature between 15 and 30 degrees C (59 and 86 degrees F). Protect from light. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.

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.

Last Updated: July 13, 2009
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