In order to avoid the risks of high blood pressure you need to make sure you've always got your medication to hand. With Zava you can reorder up to 6 months of your felodipine to make sure you don't have to wait to get the medication you need.
Complete a short health assessment and request your medication. Your online doctor will check and make sure your medication is still right for you. If it is, we'll post your medication to you with free delivery.
How to take felodipine
- You can take felodipine with or without food
- You should avoid a meal which is high in fat and/or carbohydrates
- If you’re going to take it with food, take it after a light meal
- You should take your tablet first thing in the morning because felodipine is type of prolonged release medication, this means it slowly releases the drug over the course of the day rather than all at once
- So, the best time to take your felodipine is after having a light breakfast first thing in the morning
- Do not chew, crush, or cut the tablets
Avoid grapefruit juice – while you're taking felodipine you should avoid drinking grapefruit juice. There are chemicals in grapefruit juice that can inhibit the action of certain medications. In the case of felodipine, interactions with grapefruit juice can worsen the side effects.
Set an alarm – if you're likely to forget to take felodipine first thing in the morning, it is a good idea to set an alarm to remind you to take it. Or you could place felodipine in a place which may act as a reminder e.g. near the breakfast cereal.
Usually, when you first begin taking felodipine the dosage will be 5mg per day. However, this may be lower for elderly patients, normally 2.5mg per day.
The dosage you are first prescribed may not necessarily be the dose you will carry on taking. For example:
- It will depend on why you need the medicine in the first place.
- If there is no change in your blood pressure on the starting dose, then your GP may decide to double it to 10mg per day and monitor the results.
- If your blood pressure then suddenly drops it may be that your starting dose is too high, in that case your GP may halve the dose to 2.5mg per day.
Common side effects
Common side effects of felodipine include:
- ankle swelling
- pounding heartbeat
Felodipine is an example of a calcium channel blocker. It works by relaxing and widening the blood vessels that transport blood around the body:
- Felodipine blocks the calcium that enters the cells (the building blocks of the body), which make up the muscles in the heart and blood vessels
- Calcium is vital for muscles to contract so if it is blocked the muscles are automatically relaxed
- The relaxing of these muscles makes it easier for the heart to pump blood around the body and so blood pressure is lowered
You only need to use felodipine if you have high blood pressure. When your blood pressure gets measured there are 2 figures to measure; your systolic pressure and diastolic pressure.
- Systolic pressure is the higher number and measures the force the heart pumps blood around the body.
- Diastolic pressure is the lower number concerned with the resistance of blood flow in the blood vessels.
- The normal range for blood pressure is considered between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg. 140/90mmHg or over is high.
If you have high blood pressure and you don’t get it under control, there are several risks including:
- heart disease
- heart attacks
- aortic aneurysms
- kidney disease
- vascular dementia
- damage to blood vessels at the back of the eye(s)
These conditions are potentially life threatening/changing but if your high blood pressure is picked up and treated they are preventable.
You might have a higher risk of suffering from high blood pressure, for example if you:
- are over the age of 65
- have a family history of high blood pressure
- are overweight or obese
- are of Caribbean or African descent
- have a diet that’s high in salt and low in fibre
- drink a lot of alcohol or high caffeine drinks (coffee or energy drinks)
- do little or no exercise
- do not sleep well
Felodipine may not be suitable if you:
- are pregnant or trying to get pregnant
- have had an allergic reaction to felodipine or a similar medication in the past
- have certain heart conditions: poorly controlled heart failure, a current heart attack, uncontrolled angina, or severe valve problems
If you’ve already been prescribed and stabilised on felodipine - you can reorder it from us if you have had a yearly review with your GP:
- When you order felodipine from us you will be asked to fill out a questionnaire and your answers will be reviewed by one of our doctors
- From the questionnaire they will then be able to decide whether you are suitable to continue taking felodipine
To purchase felodipine for the first time - you need a prescription from your GP or specialist.
- If you aren’t taking felodipine or you suspect you have high blood pressure, you should consult your GP
- Your GP will then be able to run a series of tests to determine if you have high blood pressure
- If your GP decides felodipine is right for you and prescribes it, you should be able to get a prescription from the pharmacy
If you’d like to switch from your current high blood pressure medication - you should consult your GP. Your GP will be able to talk through your concerns and discuss any side effects that you may be experiencing with your current medication. Your GP will then be able to decide if you would be a suitable candidate for felodipine.
I think my current dosage is causing me side effects – if you begin to experience side effects because of taking felodipine you should consult your GP. They may decide to alter the dose you are on to see if that improves the side effects.
What if I forget to take it? - If you forget to take felodipine it is important that you do not take a double dose. Instead, take only your next dose at the usual time and don’t worry about the forgotten dose. However, if you find you are forgetting to take the medication at the right time, it may be a good idea to set an alarm as a reminder to yourself.
It’s important to remember that not everybody will suffer from side effects. While taking felodipine you might not feel any different in yourself, but this doesn’t mean the medication isn’t working. Your GP will arrange check-ups with you to see how well (or not) felodipine is working with regards to your blood pressure.
There are ways to cope with these common side effects. These could include:
- swollen ankles – swelling in your ankles is a common side effect associated with felodipine. You can help relieve this by raising your legs when sitting down
- headaches – after taking felodipine for around a week the headaches should wear off. However, if they don’t or you feel they are getting worse speak to your GP. In the meantime, you can consult a pharmacist who will be happy to recommend a painkiller to help relieve the painful symptoms associated with headaches
- flushes – try to cool yourself down by opening a window or using a fan. You could try sipping ice cold drinks or spraying your face with cold water. If the symptoms persist you should speak to your GP
- dizziness – dizzy spells can be uncomfortable. If you begin to feel dizzy you should stop what you are doing and try to sit or lie down until you feel better
In case of an emergency – if it is an emergency for example if you or someone you know is suffering from chest pain or collapses the first thing you should do is call 999 and ask for an ambulance.
Medication such as felodipine is only designed to control blood pressure. High blood pressure can be associated with other lifestyle factors, for example weight issues, alcohol/smoking habits or a lack of exercise. Therefore, for long term health benefits, you should consider making other lifestyle changes.
Although there is no way of making felodipine work faster either, you can help to improve your blood pressure by:
- exercising regularly
- visiting the local gym
- starting a fitness group with some friends
- stopping smoking
- trying the NHS Stop Smoking Service who can give you advice on how to quit
- drinking less alcohol
- trying to reduce your stress levels. Yoga can be a good way to do this
- eating a healthy, balanced diet
Fletcher, B. R., Hartmann-Boyce, J., Hinto, L and McManus, R. (2015). The Effect of Self-Monitoring of Blood Pressure on Medication Adherence and Lifestyle Factors: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. American Journal of Hypertension: 28, pp 1209-1221.
Hansson, L. et al (1998). Effects of Intensive Blood-Pressure Lowering and Low-Dose Aspirin in Patients with Hypertension: Principal Results of the Hypertension Optimal Treatment (HOT) Randomised Trial. The Lancet:351, pp 1755-1762.
Pirmohamed, M. (2013). Drug-Grapefruit Juice Interactions. BMJ: 346.
In order to avoid related health risks, your blood pressure needs to be kept within the normal range. Because of this, you shouldn’t miss doses of your blood pressure treatment if possible. You reorder your treatment quickly and conveniently from Zava, to avoid running out.