Procardia is a type of calcium channel blocker that may be prescribed to treat certain types of chest pain (angina). This prescription medication works by slowing down the rate of calcium movement to your heart and blood vessel walls, which relaxes the vessels to allow better blood flow and makes it easier for the heart to pump blood. Procardia comes in the form of a capsule that is taken three or four times a day. Potential side effects include weakness, dizziness, and nausea.
What Is Procardia?
Procardia® (nifedipine) is a prescription medication used to treat certain types of chest pain (angina).
Brand-name Procardia is made by Pfizer, Inc. Generic Procardia is made by various manufacturers.
Different Forms of Procardia
This article focuses on regular (short-acting) Procardia. In addition to regular Procardia, there is also a long-acting form, called Procardia XL.
(Click Procardia XL for more information on the long-acting form of this medication.)
How Does It Work?
Procardia is part of a class of drugs called calcium channel blockers. It helps slow down the rate at which calcium moves into your heart and into the walls of the blood vessels. This, in turn, helps to relax the vessels, which allows better blood flow and 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 types is that non-dihydropyridine calcium channel blockers can slow down the heart rate, while dihydropyridine calcium channel blockers do not. Procardia is a dihydropyridine calcium channel blocker, which means that it does not usually decrease the heart rate. In fact, Procardia can actually increase the heart rate.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Procardia [package insert]. New York, NY: Pfizer, Inc.;2006 May.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed March 26, 2007.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 7th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2005.
National Library of Medicine (US). Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMED). NLM Web site. Available at: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?LACT. Accessed March 26, 2007.
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