1. About felodipine
Felodipine is a medicine used to treat high blood pressure.
Felodipine is also used to prevent angina (chest pain caused by heart disease).
This medicine is only available on prescription. It comes as tablets.
2. Key facts
- Felodipine lowers your blood pressure and makes it easier for your heart to pump blood around your body.
- It's usual to take felodipine once a day in the morning.
- Do not eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice while you're taking felodipine. Grapefruit can make side effects worse.
- Felodipine is also called by various brand names, including Plendil, Cardioplen XL, Folpik XL, Vascalpha and Neofel XL.
3. Who can and can't take felodipine
Adults aged 18 and over can take felodipine.
Felodipine isn't suitable for some people.
To make sure felodipine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you:
- have had an allergic reaction to felodipine or any other medicine in the past
- are trying to get pregnant, are already pregnant or if you are breastfeeding
- have heart failure or heart disease or you've recently had a heart attack
- have new chest pain or chest pain that lasts longer or is more severe than usual
- have liver problems
4. How and when to take
Take felodipine as your doctor has told you, and follow the directions on the label. If you're not sure, check with your doctor or pharmacist.
Felodipine comes as "prolonged release" tablets (sometimes called "modified release"). This means that the tablets release felodipine slowly and evenly throughout the day.
How much to take
Your dose of felodipine depends on why you need the medicine. To decide the correct dose for you, your doctor will check your blood pressure.
Elderly patients usually start on a lower dose of 2.5mg once a day.
Will my dose go up or down?
If the starting dose isn't working well enough, your doctor may increase it to 10mg a day.
If you have side effects or your blood pressure goes too low, your doctor may lower your dose to 2.5mg a day.
How to take it
It's usual to take felodipine once a day in the morning. It's best to take it on an empty stomach or after a light meal or snack that isn't too fatty or starchy.
Swallow the tablets whole with a glass of water. Do not break, crush or chew them. Talk to your pharmacist or doctor if you have problems swallowing them.
Do not eat or drink grapefruit or grapefruit juice while you're taking this medicine. Grapefruit juice can make side effects worse.
Take felodipine even if you feel well, as you will still be getting the benefits of the medicine.
What if I forget to take it?
If you forget a dose of felodipine, just take your next dose at the usual time. Do not take a double dose to make up for a forgotten one.
If you often forget doses, it may help to set an alarm to remind you. You could also ask your pharmacist for advice on other ways to help you remember to take your medicine.
What if I take too much?
If you take too much felodipine by accident, contact your doctor or go to your nearest hospital straight away.
An overdose of felodipine can cause dizziness and make you feel sick and sleepy.
The amount of felodipine that can lead to an overdose varies from person to person.
Urgent advice: Call your doctor or go to A&E straight away if you take too much felodipine
If you need to go to a hospital accident and emergency (A&E) department, do not drive yourself - get someone else to drive you or call for an ambulance.
Take the felodipine box, or the leaflet inside the packet, plus any remaining medicine with you.
5. Side effects
Like all medicines, felodipine can cause side effects, although not everyone gets them. Side effects often improve as your body gets used to the medicine.
Common side effects
These common side effects happen in more than 1 in 100 people. They are usually mild and short-lived.
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if the side effects bother you or last for more than a few days:
- flushing (feeling hot)
- a pounding heartbeat
- swollen ankles
Serious side effects
Serious side effects are rare and happen in less than 1 in 1,000 people.
Stop taking the medicine and call a doctor straight away if you get chest pain that is new or worse - this side effect needs to be checked out as chest pain is a possible symptom of a heart attack.
Serious allergic reaction
In rare cases, it's possible to have a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to felodipine.
Immediate action required: Call 999 or go to A&E if:
- you get a skin rash that may include itchy, red, swollen, blistered or peeling skin
- you're wheezing
- you get tightness in the chest or throat
- you have trouble breathing or talking
- your mouth, face, lips, tongue or throat start swelling
You could be having a serious allergic reaction and may need immediate treatment in hospital.
These are not all the side effects of felodipine. For a full list see the leaflet inside your medicines packet.
You can report any suspected side effect to the UK safety scheme.
6. How to cope with side effects
What to do about:
- headaches - make sure you rest and drink plenty of fluids. Do not drink too much alcohol. Ask your pharmacist to recommend a painkiller. Headaches should usually go away after the first week of taking felodipine. Talk to your doctor if they last longer than a week or are severe.
- feeling dizzy - if felodipine makes you feel dizzy, stop what you're doing and sit or lie down until you feel better.
- flushing - try cutting down on coffee, tea and alcohol. It might help to keep the room cool and use a fan. You could also spray your face with cool water, or sip cold or iced drinks. The flushing should go away after a few days. If it doesn't go away, or if it's causing you problems, contact your doctor.
- swollen ankles - raise your legs while you're sitting down.
7. Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Felodipine is not recommended in pregnancy or when breastfeeding.
If you're trying to get pregnant or you're already pregnant, talk to your doctor about the benefits and possible harms of taking felodipine. There are usually other medicines that are safer for you.
Felodipine and breastfeeding
Small amounts of felodipine may get into breast milk, but it's not known if this is harmful to the baby. Talk to your doctor as other medicines might be better while you're breastfeeding.
Non-urgent advice: Tell your doctor if you're:
- trying to get pregnant
8. Cautions with other medicines
If you take other medicines that lower blood pressure with felodipine, the combination can sometimes lower your blood pressure too much. This may make you feel dizzy or faint. If this keeps happening to you, tell your doctor as your dose may need to be changed.
Some medicines can interfere with the way felodipine works.
Tell your doctor if you're taking any of these medicines before starting felodipine:
- anti-epilepsy medicines: carbamazepine, phenytoin, phenobarbital (phenobarbitone) or primidone
- antibiotics: clarithromycin, erythromycin or rifampicin
- the antifungal itraconazole
- medicines for HIV or hepatitis C virus
- medicines to reduce immune reactions such as ciclosporin or tacrolimus
Mixing felodipine with herbal remedies or supplements
St John's wort, a herbal medicine taken for depression, is thought to interfere with the way felodipine works. Talk to your doctor if you're thinking about taking St John's wort.
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you're taking any other medicines, including herbal remedies, vitamins or supplements.
9. Common questions
How does felodipine work?
How long does felodipine take to work?
How long will I take it for?
Is felodipine safe to take for a long time?
Can I come off felodipine now my blood pressure is lower?
What will happen if I stop taking it?
Can I drink alcohol with it?
Are there similar medicines to felodipine?
Is felodipine addictive?
Will it affect my contraception?
Will it affect my fertility?
Is there any food or drink I need to avoid?
Can I drive or ride a bike?
Can lifestyle changes help?
Page last reviewed: 13/12/2018
Next review due: 13/12/2021