How Does Amlodipine Work?

Amlodipine besylate (Norvasc®) is commonly prescribed for conditions affecting the heart and blood vessels. It is specifically used for controlling high blood pressure (hypertension) and treating heart disease, including angina and coronary artery disease in people who do not have heart failure. This drug appears to be effective, but how does amlodipine work?
 
As a calcium channel blocker, amlodipine works by slowing down the rate at which calcium moves into your heart and into the blood vessel walls. This, in turn, helps to relax the vessels, which allows better blood flow and causes lower blood pressure. It also makes it easier for the heart to pump blood.
 
There are two basic types of calcium channel blockers: dihydropyridine and non-dihydropyridine. The most important difference between the two is that non-dihydropyridine calcium channel blockers can slow down the heart rate, while dihydropyridine calcium channel blockers do not. Amlodipine is a dihydropyridine calcium channel blocker, which means that it does not have an effect on heart rate.
 
(Click What Is Amlodipine Used For? to learn more about how amlodipine works for high blood pressure and heart disease, possible off-label uses, and giving this medication to children.)
 
 
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