amlodipine besylate Nursing Considerations & Management

 Amlodipine besylate (Norvasc) is a calcium channel-blocker that is usually indicated for patients with angina pectoris due to coronary artery spasms.

Generic Names & Brand Names

amlodipine besylate

(am loe‘ di peen)


Pregnancy Category C

Drug classes
  • Calcium channel-blocker
  • Antianginal drug
  • Antihypertensive
Therapeutic actions

Inhibits the movement of calcium ions across the membranes of cardiac and arterial muscle cells; inhibits transmembrane calcium flow, which results in the depression of impulse formation in specialized cardiac pacemaker cells, slowing of the velocity of conduction of the cardiac impulse, depression of myocardial contractility, and dilation of coronary arteries and arterioles and peripheral arterioles; these effects lead to decreased cardiac work, decreased cardiac oxygen consumption, and in patients with vasospastic (Prinzmetal’s) angina, increased delivery of oxygen to cardiac cells.

  • Angina pectoris due to coronary artery spasm (Prinzmetal’s variant angina)
  • Chronic stable angina, alone or in combination with other agents
  • Essential hypertension, alone or in combination with other antihypertensives
Contraindications and cautions
  • Contraindicated with allergy to amlodipine, impaired hepatic or renal function, sick sinus syndrome, heart block (second or third degree), lactation.
  • Use cautiously with CHF, pregnancy.
Available forms

Tablets—2.5, 5, 10 mg



Initially, 5 mg PO daily; dosage may be gradually increased over 10–14 days to a maximum dose of 10 mg PO daily.


Safety and efficacy not established.


Initially, 2.5 mg PO daily; dosage may be gradually adjusted over 7–14 days based on clinical assessment.

OralUnknown6–12 hr

Metabolism: Hepatic; T1/2: 30–50 hr

Distribution: Crosses placenta; may enter breast milk

Excretion: Urine

Adverse effects
  • CNS: Dizziness, light-headedness, headache, asthenia, fatigue, lethargy
  • CV: Peripheral edema, arrhythmias
  • Dermatologic: Flushing, rash
  • GI: Nausea, abdominal discomfort


  • Possible increased serum levels and toxicity of cyclosporine if taken concurrently
Nursing considerations
CLINICAL ALERT! Name confusion has been reported between Norvasc (amlodipine) and Navane (thiothixene); use caution.
  • History: Allergy to amlodipine, impaired hepatic or renal function, sick sinus syndrome, heart block, lactation, CHF
  • Physical: Skin lesions, color, edema; P, BP, baseline ECG, peripheral perfusion, auscultation; R, adventitious sounds; liver evaluation, GI normal output; liver and renal function tests, urinalysis
  • WARNING: Monitor patient carefully (BP, cardiac rhythm, and output) while adjusting drug to therapeutic dose; use special caution if patient has CHF.
  • Monitor BP very carefully if patient is also on nitrates.
  • Monitor cardiac rhythm regularly during stabilization of dosage and periodically during long-term therapy.
  • Administer drug without regard to meals.
Teaching points
  • Take with meals if upset stomach occurs.
  • You may experience these side effects: Nausea, vomiting (eat frequent small meals); headache (adjust lighting, noise, and temperature; medication may be ordered).
  • Report irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, swelling of the hands or feet, ronounced dizziness, constipation.