Nicardipine

Nicardipine treats high blood pressure and chest pain. The sustained release capsules are for treating high blood pressure only.

Nicardipine Overview

Reviewed: July 10, 2013
Updated: 

Nicardipine is a prescription medication used to treat high blood pressure. Nicardipine belongs to a group of drugs called calcium channel blockers, which relax blood vessels, making it easier for the heart to pump blood.

This medication comes in immediate release capsule and sustained release capsules. The immediate release capsules are usually taken three times a day, with or without food. 

The sustained release capsules are usually taken twice a day. 

Nicardipine is also available as an injection and is given into the vein by a healthcare professional. 

Common side effects include headache and nausea. Nicardipine can cause dizziness. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how this medication affects you.

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  • Angina Pectoris, Variant
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Nicardipine Cautionary Labels

precautions

Uses of Nicardipine

Nicardipine is a prescription medication used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) and chest pain. 

This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Nicardipine Brand Names

Nicardipine may be found in some form under the following brand names:

Nicardipine Drug Class

Nicardipine is part of the drug class:

Side Effects of Nicardipine

Serious side effects have been reported with nicardipine. See the “Drug Precautions” section.

Common side effects of nicardipine capsules include:

  • swelling in the feet
  • headache
  • nausea
  • a pounding or racing heartbeat
  • dizziness
  • loss of sensation/feeling
  • dizziness when standing from a sitting position

Common side effects of nicardipine injection include:

  • headache
  • low blood pressure
  • fast heart rate
  • nausea
  • vomiting

This is not a complete list of nicardipine side effects. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Nicardipine Interactions

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Especially tell your doctor if you take:

This is not a complete list of nicardipine drug interactions. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Nicardipine Precautions

Serious side effects have been reported with nicardipine including:

  • chest pain. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have some or all of the following symptoms of chest pain:
    • a pressure, squeezing, burning, or tightness in the chest
    • pain in the chest, breastbone area, arms, neck, shoulders, or back
    • nausea
    • fatigue
    • shortness of breath
    • light headedness
    • weakness
  • congestive heart failure (CHF). Tell your healthcare provider right away if you experience any of the following symptoms of CHF:
    • sudden weight gain
    • worsening shortness of breath
    • increased swelling of your feet, legs, or abdomen
    • needing more pillows or sleeping in a recliner
    • waking from sleep to catch your breath
    • a cough that does not go away
    • new or increasing irregularities in your heart rate
  • hypotension. Hypotension, or low blood pressure, may cause you to feel faint or dizzy. Inadequate fluid intake, excessive sweating, diarrhea, or vomiting can lead to an excessive fall in blood pressure, too. Lie down if you feel faint or dizzy. Call your doctor right away.

Nicardipine can cause dizziness. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how nicardipine affects you.

Do not take nicardipine if you:

  • are allergic to nicardipine or any of this medication’s ingredients
  • have been diagnosed with aortic stenosis. Nicardipine may worsen this condition.

Nicardipine Food Interactions

Medications can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your doctor may advise you to avoid certain foods. In the case of nicardipine:

  • avoid drinking grapefruit juice or eating grapefruit 1 hour before or for 2 hours after taking nicardipine.
  • talk to your doctor before using salt substitutes containing potassium. If your doctor prescribes a low-salt or low-sodium diet, follow these directions carefully.

Inform MD

Before taking nicardipine, tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions. Especially tell your doctor if you:

  • have or have had a hypersensitivity (allergy) to nicardipine or to its inactive ingredients
  • liver problems
  • kidney problems
  • heart problems, including aortic stenosis
  • are pregnant or are breastfeeding

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Nicardipine and Pregnancy

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

The FDA categorizes medications based on safety for use during pregnancy. Five categories - A, B, C, D, and X, are used to classify the possible risks to an unborn baby when a medication is taken during pregnancy.

Nicardipine falls into category C. There are no well-controlled studies in pregnant women. Nicardipine should be used during pregnancy only if the possible benefit outweighs the possible risk to the unborn baby.

Nicardipine and Lactation

Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed.

Studies in rats have shown that nicardipine can pass into breastmilk. For this reason, it is recommended that women who wish to breastfeed should not take this drug.

Nicardipine Usage

Take nicardipine exactly as prescribed.

This medication comes in immediate release capsule and sustained release capsules. 

  • The immediate release capsules are usually taken three times a day, with or without food. 
  • The sustained release capsules are usually taken twice a day. 

Nicardipine is also available as an injection and is given into the vein by a healthcare professional. 

If you miss a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the regular time. Do not take two doses of nicardipine at the same time.

Nicardipine Dosage

Take nicardipine exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully.

The recommended dosage range for nicardipine immediate release capsules for chest pain is 20 to 40 mg three times daily.

The recommended dose range for nicardipine sustained-release capsules for high blood pressure is 30 to 60 mg twice daily.

Dose adjustments may be necessary in those with liver impairment, kidney impairment, or heart failure.

Nicardipine Overdose

If you take too much nicardipine call your healthcare provider or local Poison Control Center, or seek emergency medical attention right away.

Other Requirements

  • Store at room temperature between 15° to 30°C (59° to 86°F).
  • Dispense in light-resistant containers.
  • Keep this and all medicines out of the reach of children.