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The slow build up of side effects- anyone had the same?

I was prescribed amlodipine 5mg and then, very quickly, 10 mg about 1 year ago. My high bp was detected by my optician via an eye test (!). I have only just discovered this site and wish I had done so earlier.

I am 64, married, semi-retired/work part-time, am fairly active ( e.g. do a lot of walking; go to gym regularly). My bp was taken by the nurse last week and was defined as \"absolutely normal\"; my own readings at home now average 130/80. I had been a heavy smoker for 50 years but gave up a year ago, i.e. as soon as I was put on this awful medication, simply by \" \"going cold turkey\".

My diet is extremely healthy because my wife has to eat very carefully and sensibly for medical reasons.I am a big believer in medical self-help/ alternative treatment and I am personally averse to taking any pills on a long term basis without attempting alternative treatments. I'm not trying to depict myself as a \"health/lifestyle angel\"- I like a drink and good food, like a laugh, go to football, love rock music gigs.

However, my relationship with my GP is not what one would call a \" \"partnership\". One of the most recent NHS policy straplines in terms of patients' rights ( and, boy, how I hate these types of weazel words) is \" \"no decision about me, without me\". Well, folks, even in the first few weeks of taking amlodipine and of being bumped from 5mg to 10 mg my GP was strongly inferring that I would be on bp medication \" for life\". And, when I complained about weight gain, he said he was not concernd \"as long as my bp came down\".

What I have realised, especially after reading this site, is that the side effects of amlodipine can also build up very slowly over a long period of time, i.e. as opposed to being more of a sudden or \" allergic\" body reaction. The danger of this \"gradual accumulation\" of symptoms is that the patient can come to accept these side effects as normal. In my own case, I guess I have up to now been thinkng that they were all to do with natural ageing , smoking cessation, etc. Indeed, my contact with my GP is so minimal that it's a wonder I think of the amlodipine at all.

The main side effects for me are:

-weight gain ( and, I suspect ,fluid retention); for 30 years I could have sent anybody to, say, M&S with a note of my size for a shirt, a suit, jeans, etc. Now, after 1 year of amlodipine, I have 5 business suits which no longer fit and a new, larger suit purchased as a stop gap in July which does not fit. And ditto with dress shirts. And so on.

-calf cramps during the night;

-exacerbated pain in what ,previously , were weak spots/ old sports injuries ( hip, back, knee);

- significantly reduced intellectual/ creative energy;

-\"doing the same amount of activity ( walking, gardening,etc) takes more and more effort/ makes me more and more tired\"- in other words, I still try to do the same length of walk, amount of gardening but it takes longer and takes more out of me; and no- I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT I CAN SIMPLY HAVE AGED THIS MUCH IN 12 MONTHS!

I have paid for acupuncture, which has yielded good benefits; I am about to purchase the RespeRate breathing machine ( has anybody else out there used this/ found a benefit from it?) plus some Cumel natural herb tablets.

However, my huge, huge concern is that my realisation, after reading this site, that amlodipine's side effects can also be gradual and can literally \" \"creep up on you\" if there is no real dialogue with your GP will fall upon the deaf ears......of......my GP.

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17 Replies

  • solarkatie

    Hi. My BP last year at around this time was 213/176! I was put on this awful drug just one week ago because my bp would not go low enough. I only took 5 because it made me very ill. I was confused :? , disorientated, exhausted etc etc. My bp had only gone down a few points and not worth the exhausted disfunctional feeling. My husband said today, if I had insisted on giving it a longer trial, he would have hidden them from me as it scared him! :x I had been using the Lloyds pharmacy version of resperate for about a month with good results, reducing my average bp to 156/98. Doc said not low enough and could not increase the Lisinopril as I was on the maximum dose. So I was put on Amlodopine. Anyway after reading some of these blogs I thought I would add Omega 3 Fish Oil 1000mg to my medicine and my breathing machine (resperate). Today (first day on Omega 3) it is down already to 140/85. Just a bit to go now. So in answer to your question, GO FOR IT. The Lloyds chemist version is half the price of ResPerate and you can get it from your local Lloyds or on line. I think it was around £50 - £60. Hope that helps you. :wink:

    _ 0 votes F Report Share < reply to solarkatie

  • gary_ramsgate

    I have been on 10mg Amlodipine for over a year now. Overall the side effects aren't too bad. I do find that if I take the full 10mg every day, I get a mild pain in my lower left abdomen and back. If I reduce the dose to 5mg, it becomes less. If I stop taking it, the pain goes away after a couple of days. I also take Hawthorn, Co0Q10 and Omega fish oil every day.

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  • johntimson

    Hi every poor sucker on Amlodapine.I have been on this drug for many years plus Dozaxosin and have tried all ways of reducing it just to bring my life back to what it was 5yrs ago.My family doesnt recognise me anymore.I wish I had never started taking them and took my chances with my BP.OMEGA 3 does reduce my BP a lot.I wish I had taken it years ago.Dont drink or smoke ,what a life.

    _ 0 votes F Report Share < reply to johntimson

  • gwud

    Hi, I am a 62 year old man and I have been on this 5mg tablet for about two and a half years. The side effects do creep up on you and you think everybody else is trying to irritate you, to wind you up, until it got to a point when my Wife was in tears, my 92 year old Mother was in tears and eventually I broke down in tears. I had no energy, I had no life any more and I just could not take any more.

    Then thank god, I visited this site and read all these comments. I stopped the tablet and within 48 hours my life changed, I was smiling again, I was a really nice person to know again, I was back from the edge.

    Have been off the tablet now for a month, and nobody can upset me anymore, I started taking Omega 3 liquid and my BP is stable at or arround 131/83 Going to visit Docs to tell him what I think of his Damn medication and suggest he visits this site.

    _ 0 votes F Report Share < reply to gwud

  • bertie beagle

    RespeRate machine? Is this for sleep apnoea?

    I have a ResMed machine for sleep apnea and apart from not looking too good in bed (ruins your love life) I find it very good and gives me a good night's sleep.

    As for Amlodipine, thats another matter. And doctors who listen can you find me one? I am seventy and was put on Amlodipine (5mg) about three years ago for \&quot;slight\&quot; high blood pressure, at the beginning no problems.

    Then over time I found my feet becoming red and I was experiencing a strong burning sensation. This burning got steadily worse and developed into a prickly sensation like hot needles piercing the skin. This has now progressed up my lower leg and the symtoms were getting worse.Furthermore I was now experiencing itching and feeling as if something was crawling all over my body.

    I also began to find it difficult to get to sleep and when I did I would waken after just 1 to 2 hours and be unable to go back again.Then on the 13th Dec this year I decided (without Dr consent) to stop taking the tablets. After 1 day, feet still red but burning sensation eased.Day 2 prickly feeling almost gone though feet still hot.Day 3 getting to sleep easier and sleeping longer.Day 4 itching/crawling feeling gone.Although I did it,and feel a lot better, I would not recommend others to try it. I have a BP machine and have been taking readings before and after taking the tablets - NO CHANGE??

    _ 0 votes F Report Share < reply to bertie beagle

  • FleaGirl

    I have experience a build-up of "side effects" from taking 10mg amlodipine daily for several years, the most debilitating of which was insomnia and constant tiredness. I have also experienced severe joint pain, "foggy" brain, depression, blurred vision, thinning hair, dry eyes, dry mouth and lots of others. I am 53 years old, female and I live an active life - I walk 5 miles a day and do a martial art twice a week. I also eat a mainly organic diet and do not smoke. Until I found sites like this one, I had put all of these down to my age. I stopped taking the tablets three days ago and have had the best two nights' sleep I have had in a long time. I am also thinking more clearly, although I am still tired. My vision has improved slgihtly and I am feeling much better in myself. My blood pressure is slightly elevated, but I believe that it will normalise in time once I am back to normal. I will never take these tablets again.

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  • sleeves

    I have read somewhere this drug has been banned in Holland."Amlodipine"

    I am 67. male

    I was given this by the hospital and after 3 days I stopped taken it. I was experiencing most of the symptons that folks here have. I was also taking ramapril 5mg.Im now on 10mg of ramipril

    and BP is at a reasonable level, I think. I have my own monitor at home and find when I visit my GP or the hospital my BP seems to increase to 150/90, yet, at home its normal 120/80 or there abouts. We have come to the conclusion that Subconsciously I suffer from "White Coat Syndrome".Then again maybe my BP monitor is duff.Was`nt cheap though.

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  • Sepia830

    Wow and then some. A little over a year ago I was prescribed 5 mg of Amlodipine for my HPB. After being on the med for a few weeks I started to get swollen feet so I switched to taking it at night before bed instead of in the a.m. and that seemed to alleviate the problem...for a while. A couple of months ago my GP changed my prescription to 10 mg and this is where the real problems started. My feet swell up again and did not go down even after she prescribed a diuretic. Then I got a huge abscess on my gums and the dr. insisted that it was a dental issue. She gave me antibiotics though and it went away. A few weeks later the abscess returned so I went to an endodontist who took x-rays and informed me that he couldn't see anything wrong with my teeth. Again I was given antibiotics which I took for 7 days. The abscess went away again and after 10 days it has returned. Suddenly it dawns on me that none of this happened until after my meds were doubled in dosage. Sure enough I go online and find out that swollen gums is a side effect of this medication.

    And then I kept reading and I discovered that other problems I was having were likely related to Amlodipine. Lately I have been having severe muscles pains in my shoulders, tingling in my feet and arms and I have felt for weeks now as if my head were in a fog. I find that I have to concentrate much harder than before and i keep losing my train of thought. Well I am done. I will not take another pill. I will contact my doctor tomorrow to discuss other options.

    Thanks to all of you for posting. Reading your testimonials has been a real eye-opener.

    _ 0 votes F Report Share < reply to Sepia830

  • grovelad3

    Does anyone know if it is ok to just stop taking Amlodipine 5mg, to avoid all these most unpleasant side effects, and using Resperate machine and omega3 liquid as others are doing to control mild hypertension 155/80, and monitoring bp at home to keep a check on the bp?

    _ 0 votes F Report Share < reply to grovelad3

  • Sepia830

    govelad3...

    I've read and been told by my doctor that you should never just take yourself off a BP medication. You should be weaned (sp?) off. You might want to try going to a homeopathic store to see what options are available to you. Whatever you do, I wish you the best of luck. I've been off Amlodipine for over a month now and I feel so much better as a result.

    _ 0 votes F Report Share < reply to Sepia830

  • Tomsenior

    I've been on 5mg Amlodipine for 5 weeks now and can't say I am happy. I am a very active 74-year old and swim every day as well as doing a lot of vigorous walking. I have found that when I exercise now I get out of breath quickly which never happened before. Also had an ear infection a couple of weeks ago (swimmers ear) which I have had before but usually it clears up in a couple of days but this time had to go on anti-biotics and it took longer. The really strange thing though is the effect that I assume the drug is having on my swimming. I usually swim freestyle ploughing up and down the pool with no problems but since starting the Amlodipine I keep getting what I can only call panic attacks in the pool feeling that I can't breath and can't go on swimming. Nothing like this has ever happened to me before in all my years of regular swimming. Anyone have any similar experience? I'm continuing with the Aml. but due to see the doc again in 2 weeks time to review performance. The thing that worries me is I'm off to Turkey in 3 weeks time on a walking holiday and don't want that to be spoiled.

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  • leonard34119

    I had mega problems with Amlodipine from day one when my GP put me on it for high blood pressure my knees/joints especially my right one started to hurt me significantly. I also suffered erectile dysfunction. I went back to my GP expressing my concerns about this drug but needless to say she reluctantly took me off it and the problems disappeared. The blood pressure started to go up again although I am still on Doxasosin, so she then re-introduced Amlodipine and Lorvacs XL 1.5 in January 2014. No sooner that I started retaking Amlodipine my right knee swollen and the joints became rather painful and the erectile dysfunction returned. I am having difficulties walking properly and as if my right knee is seizing up. I went back to my GP on 20/02/2014 after a massive argument and producing the facts from this website and pointing out that amlodipine has been banned in Holland she reluctantly agreed for me to discontinue using this awful and wretched drug. She now replaced it Ramipril with a starting dose of 2.5mg which I will start taking on 21/02/14 along with Doxasosin and Lorvacs.

    _ 0 votes F Report Share < reply to leonard34119

  • marcus54016 »doug64

    Hi Doug,

    I was dudious about going on forums and sites like these but, i am glad i have now. after reading your post i feel like there is a light at the end of the tunnel. i am 41 years old but feel twice my age. i have been on amlodipine 5mg for a year which was upped to 10 mg about two weeks ago.

    I thought i was getting old before my time feeling more and more tired everyday no matter how much sleep i had. muscle aching more and more each day after the usual exercise i stopped going to the gym and cycling as i had no energy to do it. old sports injuries getting worse my ususal creative spark had disappeared headaches dry mouth feeling generally rubbish all the time getting paranoid that it was something more serious. i stopped taking the amlodipne yesterday so i am now hoping that this is the start of me coming back and being me again. i will start with taking omega 3 and see if that helps.

    i would like Thank you for posting your message, i thought i was going mad. but now i see that it was the medication that was supposed to make me better which was actually making me feel worse than i was before i started taking it.

    Best wishes to all on here.

    marcus

     

    _ 0 votes F Report Share < reply to marcus54016

  • johntimson »doug64

    Hi . I am still on Amlodopine 10 mg as trying to stop it caused my BP to rocket through the roof.I also take Olmasartan 40mg,Atenolol 10mg and Doxazosin 4mg.All together it keeps my BP low,but also my life is very low .No energy ,no enthusiasm ,no sex,life is not good .I wish I could wind back the clock 10years and I would not have started on BP meds.

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  • leroyj4892 »doug64

    I had been looking up side effects for another rx that I am currently taking when I came across your posting about Amlodipine 10mg. I was surprised when read it. I'm 47 6'1" tall and all my adult life my weight has ranged from 205 - 215, after have been perscribed this medication 4 years ago my weight has gone to 285 - 290. I also have the swelling of ankles and feet, and pain in my knees. What a relief, I am going to get another opinion about this medicine. And I had thought that my weight gain and pains had been part of geting older, man was I wrong.

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  • sean29725 »doug64

    I am a 58 year old woman and have been taking various BP meds for over 15 years.  I moved to San Diego in 2007 and my new Doc switched me to Amlodipine 10 mg.  I also prescribed Benicar 20 mg and HZT 25 mg.for my 'cocktail'.  My ankles and feet swelled so much that my shoes were uncomfortable.  It was uncomfortable to walk with my ankles being so tight.  Doc cut me back to 5 mg. Ankles improved.  Over time I felt that I really lost a lot of my ability to focus and my libido had left the building.  Doc prescribed depression meds as well.  Wellbutrin and Zoloft.  Cut dissolve, around the weeks ago I saw him and my pressure was high 156/95.  I do have white coast syndrome.  I check in with a weight loss clinic every Sat and never get readings like that.  Anyway, he upped me back to 10 mg even though we agreed that swollen ankles was a side effect at this dose.  Slowly, over three weeks time by ankles and feet swelled incomfortably. (my BP readings during these 3 weeks was great 126/80, 108/74, 110/74.   I felt depressed - I chalked this up to my father's recent death and more.  But the worst was around week two my left hip and knee joints were really bothering me.  Another week later and I had to limp to walk and it was incredibtly painful.  I felt I had aged 20 years.  I thought I should see an orthopedic Doc as I was limping out to get a sandwich.  On the way back I had a think about what had changed.  Light bulb - doubled the amlodipine!  Then I found this fourm, thank goodness.  I knew the next morning would but back down to 5 mg.  I e-mailed my Doc and asked to be put on something else.  He didn't want to as he thought the alternatives would have more severe side effects. Two days later I already feel better.  I have a little more energy and feel a wee bit happier.  I have my own cuff and am monitoring and recording my BP every day.  I'm going to try to sensibly wean off the Amlodopine.  Thank you for reading my long history with this med.  I'm also going to try to wean off the depressants.

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  • madeline66729 »doug64

    I so empathise with all these posts. I have been on 5 mg Amlopidine for about 4 years A year ago my BP started rising and the dose was increased to 10 mg. I have been gradually feeling more and more exhausted over the past 4 years. I have an underactive thyroid and take tablets for that as well. But as you all state, the gradual eroding of good health is stealthy and you do feel as though it is just getting old. I am 68 years old but have always worked and love to swim and walk. Now however I struggle to do any kind of exercise as I am overweight and cannot seem to lose it (could be thyroid though) and feel tired all the time to the point of sleeping during the day at times.

    I finally decided to ask the doctor to look at the tablets I was taking and to prescribe another BP tablet as my legs and ankles were swelling so much. This he did and put me on Ramipril. I stopped taking Amlopidine for about 3 weeks but then my BP started to rise again. This week he put me back on Amlopidine 5 mg and after only 6 days on the tablets I can feel the tiredness returning. It really was quite marked how quickly I felt all the symptons returning. I go back to the doctors Tuesday and will insist on an alternative to Amlopidine

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