Nifedipine: What is it? Uses, Side Effects, Warnings, Dosage and Administration

It is a calcium channel blocker medication that is used most often to treat high blood pressure, angina, and Raynaud’s phenomenon.


Short-acting capsules are used to:

  • Raynaud’s phenomenon : a condition in which the blood vessels of the hands and feet suffer a spasm that causes white, numb and aching fingers and toes.
  • Postpone premature labor (unauthorized use).
  • Treatment of hiccups in palliative care.

Long-acting capsules and tablets are used to:

How does it work?

It works by blocking the calcium channels that are found in the muscle cells of the walls of the arteries. This action causes the arteries to relax and widen.

Nifedipine relaxes the peripheral arteries in the hands and feet, which improves blood circulation in the fingers and toes. This helps relieve the symptoms of Raynaud’s phenomenon.

By relaxing and widening the small arteries around the body, Nifedipine reduces the resistance that the heart must press to pump blood around the body.

This reduces the pressure inside the blood vessels, which means that it can reduce high blood pressure .

When there is less resistance in the arteries, the heart does not need to work so hard to pump blood around the body. Nifedipine also relaxes and widens the arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the heart muscle.

This allows Nifedipine to avoid painful angina attacks that can occur when the heart does not get enough oxygen for the job it is doing.

How does it work in the heart?

Short-acting Nifedipine capsules take effect as soon as the medication is absorbed and then attenuated; These capsules should be taken three times a day.

Long-acting Nifedipine tablets and capsules release the medication constantly during the day and can be taken once or twice a day.

These forms of Nifedipine can be described as controlled release, slow release, prolonged release, modified release or sustained release.

What brand-name drugs contain Nifedipine?

Nifedipine is a generic medicine. It is also available under several brands, including the following:

  • Adalat capsules.
  • Adalat LA.
  • Adalat retardado
  • Adipine MR.
  • Adipine XL.
  • Calchan MR.
  • Coracten SR.
  • Coracts XL.
  • Fortipine LA.
  • Nifedipress MR.
  • Nimodrel XL.
  • Tensipine MR.
  • Valni XL.

Side effects and warnings

Nifedipine reduces blood pressure and makes it easier for your heart to pump blood around your body.

The most common side effects include headache, flushing, constipation, feeling tired and swollen ankles. These usually improve after a few days of treatment.

Do not eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice while you are taking Nifedipine as this may worsen side effects.

If you have severe vomiting or diarrhea due to a stomach infection or illness, tell your doctor. You may need to stop taking Nifedipine for a while until you feel better.

Nifedipine is also called by several brands, for example, Adalat, Adipine, Coracten, Fortipine, Nifedipress, Tensipine and Valni. If the brand has other letters afterwards (XL, LA, SR, MR or Retard), it means that Nifedipine is released slowly and evenly throughout the day.

Who can and can not take Nifedipine?

It is mainly used for adults over 18 years old although it is occasionally prescribed for children.

Nifedipine is not suitable for some people.

To make sure that Nifedipine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you:

  • You have had an allergic reaction to Nifedipine or any other medication in the past.
  • They are trying to get pregnant, are already pregnant or are breastfeeding.
  • You have a liver disease.
  • You have a heart problem (in addition to high blood pressure), including a recent heart attack, heart failure, or unstable angina.
  • He has diabetes.

Take Nifedipine exactly as your doctor has told you to and follow the instructions on the label. If you are not sure, check with your doctor or pharmacist.


Your dose depends on why you need the medication and what type your doctor has prescribed.

Nifedipine comes in the form of “short-acting” capsules (immediate release) or as “extended-release” tablets or capsules (slow release). If you have liquid Nifedipine, it works like short-acting capsules.

Long-acting Nifedipine capsules or tablets release Nifedipine evenly throughout the day. This means that you do not need to take them as often.

To decide the correct dose for you, your doctor will monitor your blood pressure. Depending on why you are taking Nifedipine, the usual starting dose is:

  • Short-acting or liquid capsules: 5 mg 3 times a day (every 8 hours).
  • Long-acting pills or capsules: 10 mg twice a day (every 12 hours) or 20 to 30 mg once a day (every 24 hours, preferably in the morning).

If a doctor prescribes it to your child, the dosage will usually be lower. It will depend on how old your child is and how much they weigh.

Will my dose increase or decrease?

If the initial dose is not working well enough (your blood pressure is not low enough, or if you still have symptoms), you may need to increase your dose. If you are bothered by side effects, you may need to continue taking a lower dose.

The usual maximum doses are:

  • Short-acting or liquid capsules: 20 mg 3 times a day (60 mg in total).
  • Capsules or long-acting tablets: 40 mg twice a day or 90 mg once a day (a total of 80 or 90 mg per day).


Take the Nifedipine capsule or tablet as soon as you have taken it out of the blister pack. Nifedipine is very sensitive to light and will not work properly if it has been left too long out of the package.

You can take Nifedipine at any time of the day, but try to make sure it is around the same time or the same times a day. If you take too much Nifedipine by accident, contact your doctor or go immediately to the nearest hospital.

An overdose of Nifedipine can cause dizziness and irregular heartbeat, feeling sick, confused and sleepy. The amount of Nifedipine that can lead to an overdose varies from person to person.