Nifedipine for High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy
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How It Works
Nifedipine is a calcium channel blocker medicine that slows smooth muscle function. Muscles need calcium to function properly, and a calcium channel blocker interferes with the supply of calcium to the muscle. This allows the smooth muscle wall of the blood vessels to relax and widen, reducing blood pressure.
Why It Is Used
Nifedipine is sometimes used in late pregnancy to control moderate to severe high blood pressure.
Among the general population, nifedipine is used to treat migraines, high blood pressure, and heart problems.
All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.
Here are some important things to think about:
- Usually the benefits of the medicine are more important than any minor side effects.
- Side effects may go away after you take the medicine for a while.
- If side effects still bother you and you wonder if you should keep taking the medicine, call your doctor. He or she may be able to lower your dose or change your medicine. Do not suddenly quit taking your medicine unless your doctor tells you to.
Call 911 or other emergency services right away if you have:
- Trouble breathing.
- Swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor if you have:
Common side effects of this medicine include:
- Constipation or diarrhea.
- Dizziness or lightheadedness.
- Flushing or feeling warm.
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.
There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.
Advice for women
When you are pregnant or breast-feeding, do not use any medicines unless your doctor tells you to. Some medicines can harm your baby. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements. And make sure that all your doctors know that you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
- Roberts JM, Funai EF (2009). Pregnancy-related hypertension. In RK Creasy, R Resnik, eds., Creasy and Resnik's Maternal-Fetal Medicine: Principles and Practice, 6th ed., pp. 651–688. Philadelphia: Saunders.
- Duley L (2011). Pre-eclampsia, eclampsia, and hypertension; search date February 2010. Online version of BMJ Clinical Evidence: http://www.clinicalevidence.com.
Last Revised: November 5, 2012
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