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Old 10-21-2008, 06:24 AM   #1
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Another drug question----who else has stopped Norvasc and why

I finally after 5 years found a new doctor and he was also very surprised why my doc had put me on Norvasc---a calcium channel blocker---in the first place--my daughter who is a pharmacist was stunned----I was diagnosed for the first time with high bp 5 years ago and my daughter said a ccb is NOT the first line of defense----BUT my doctor happened to have samples in my office, so guess what-----that is what I took.

I also an on atenolol which I totally understand-----when first diagnosed I was having trouble with rapid heartbeat and he prescribed atenolol and also sent me to a cardiologist-----checked my heart, did ekg, etc etc etc and said I can have tachycardia, so atenolol is a drug of choice for me-------
and it is okay with me.

BUT, and I wish I had done this years ago----the Norvasc----or generic amlodipine---a ccb---has the tendency to cause really bad heartburn----
so I will always be on Prilosec now.

Also, it causes swelling in the feet and a more rare side effect is neuropathy
in the feet---I have read about that in a few places---
anyway, I stopped the ccb several weeks ago and am changing over to Lisinopril which I have written about in another post.

I was sick of the bottom of my feet being numb----my new doc even did a B12 test and my B12 is way high---not surprising to me since I have taken all sorts of B12 and other B vitamins for 15 years.

I am wondering if anyone else has knowledge or opinions about the neuropathy in the feet caused by ccb's-----because once again, the process started the longer I was on the amlodipine-----

Thank God my new doc said I don't think that is the right drug at all-----
and also my pharmacist daughter and my other great pharmacist down at my drugstore agreed-----

but am curious about other reponses to Norvasc/amlodipine and the ccb's---
thanks

 
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Old 10-21-2008, 08:41 AM   #2
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Re: Another drug question----who else has stopped Norvasc and why

Quote:
Originally Posted by LeeAnn76 View Post
... I was diagnosed for the first time with high bp 5 years ago ...
Do you remember how high your blood pressure was, 5 years ago, and how many readings, over what period of time, did your doctor use to establish that you were hypertensive?

To me, the first line of defense against HBP is diet.

Quote:
... and my daughter said a ccb is NOT the first line of defense----BUT my doctor happened to have samples in my office, so guess what-----that is what I took.
In my case, for many years, the ONLY med that could bring down my blood pressure was a CCB, Verapamil. It just shows that we all have differences. Currently, Coreg, 3.125mg, a Beta Blocker, is my only blood pressure medication, and Digoxin for my tachycardia and heart failure.

I stopped using my CCB because Coreg works better, and I only have to take it once per day.

Quote:
... really bad heartburn---- so I will always be on Prilosec now. ... swelling in the feet ... neuropathy in the feet ...
High blood pressure, heartburn, swelling and neuropathy are also symptoms of Insulin Resistance, or Diabetes. Have you ruled that out?
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⇒ I avoid common ordinary but unhealthy household items
⇒ Balanced, healthy diet
⇒ Exercise
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⇒ I LOVE COREG!

Last edited by Machaon; 10-21-2008 at 08:44 AM.

 
Old 10-21-2008, 08:46 AM   #3
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Re: Another drug question----who else has stopped Norvasc and why

Piercing headaches & I'm not one to get headaches. Severe heartburn-the "going to the ER type cause your think you are having a heart attack. I was only on it two or three days. Fam

 
Old 10-21-2008, 11:33 AM   #4
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Re: Another drug question----who else has stopped Norvasc and why

I had never had high bp---about Jan of 2003 I went to my ob/gyn and my bp was 150/110 or something like that---several readings in his office----we were stunned---I was 54 yrs at the time. My ob/gyn and I didn't do anything about it.

In Feb I decided I really needed an internist/fam practice----never really had one because I was never really sick---oh I had been assigned docs through my insurance but would end up seeing a nurse practicioner--

So I chose I doctor I had known about (long story) who had his own practice, was easy to get into see---and made an appt. to get established with him and get him as my main doctor. I went to see him in Feb or March of 2003 and again, in his office, my bp was 150/105 or something like that. Freaked me out and I do tend to over-react to things---he said well check your bp at home for a few days-----and then we will talk more--
So I went to the drugstore and got a good monitor and of course being scared to death was taking my bp several times a day----- and my bp and my pulse soared to like 180/120 but of course I imagine part of it was stress----and my pulse would race, over 100.

So back to the doctor scared out of my wits because I am otherwise so healthy, so he gave me samples of Norvasc to take. And I don't remember at what point I first got atenolol.

He did a bunch of blood work and said my kidney and liver function were great----my glucose as it always has been was about 95---he said all other functions looked good---
my total cholesterol was a tad high but my HDL was like 79-----so that was good.

The Norvasc immediately gave me side effects like flushing and palpitations-----eventually a few months later he sent me to a cardiologist because I would have palpitations and he said you may have some sort of dangerous rhythm problem

Cardiologist did some tests, listened to my heart, talked to me---said you have a benign tachycardia which is not dangerous---atenolol is perfect for that, keep up with the
atenolol---and since the other doc had given me norvasc they said keep up with that.

I understand now that the first line of defense for a healthy person who has never had high bp before is something like an ace inhibitor or a beta blocker and a diuretic----but
that is not what happened.

The thing is, I NEVER had had heartburn, EVER. But a few months into taking Norvasc---and when you read about it, it does the same thing to your esophagus or whatever that it does to the inside of your veins/arteries---loosen things up---and all the literature says heartburn is a huge side effect of calcium channel blockers----same reason there is swelling of the feet and ankles---same theory----

My glucose is now down to 92, I eat a very low glycemic diet because that is what appeals to me, have never had any symptoms of insulin resistance, I get lots of exercise.

I just seem to have a problem with side effects from meds.

My blood pressure was always very well controlled with the Norvasc and atenolol------
118/76 things like that.
But I finally got tired of the numbness in my feet which coincided and got worse the longer I was on the norvasc---if I can find the link I will send it to you.

And my new doctor said he much preferred ace inhibitors to calcium channel blockers---they have a protective effect on the kidneys, a slight diuretic effect, he likes them very much------

But to answer your question, my doctor diagnosed my hypertension over a few weeks--and also decided I was nuts because indeed I was scared to death---I do tend to have a type A and anxious personality----
I did have pre-eclampsia in my first pregnancy years ago, which he says is a sign of future hypertension------
my father had high bp and heart disease although he lived to be 89 years old after having a heart bypass 23 years before that-----
his mother, my grandmother, was a Christian Scientist and no doubt had heart disease etc for a long time but didn't treat it until it was way too late and she died at age 67----I really never knew her.
And it seems to be very common for women in their 50's to develop hypertension.
I believe mine is partly genetic. My mother died of enphysema because she smoked---at age 70---her mother lived to be 89.

Anyway, way more information than you needed

 
Old 10-22-2008, 06:18 AM   #5
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Re: Another drug question----who else has stopped Norvasc and why

Leeann,

I was on atenolol for about 4 weeks , and abruptly stopped taking it due to life threatening side effects. Four weeks later, I was prescribed norvasc which I took for about 4-5 months and over this period of time I experienced flushing, heartburn, and sleep disturbances which disappeared from 24 hours-6 weeks after discoing norvasc. I have reason to believe that both meds elevated my pressures instead of reducing them, but other than knowing that this is a possibility, I have no proof as I did not monitor when I was taking the atenolol.

There is no proof that primary hypertension is genetic! Doctors tell patients this when they should be telling them that lifestyle changes for 1/3 of the people with hypertension, can bring their numbers into the normal/below normal range.

Some thoughts:

IF your numbers were high, bp should have been regularly monitored and lifestyle changes put into place.

IF medication, was warranted, given your health history, a diuretic should have been prescribed...NOT a ccb.

I would seriously question whether medication was necessary.

Bethsheba

Last edited by bethsheba; 10-22-2008 at 06:19 AM.

 
Old 10-22-2008, 12:27 PM   #6
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Re: Another drug question----who else has stopped Norvasc and why

You are very right about lifestyle changes----however there are people who have decided to forego meds for lifestyle changes and end up with a stroke.
I am in Arizona so I knew this---you may, too---Cindy McCain has high bp----a few years ago she was exercising and had lost weight and stopped taking her bp meds---and she had a stroke. Thank God she was with friend who whisked her immediately to the hospital for treatment and she is fine now.

I understand exactly what you mean about lifestyle changes, but I also know that according to my cardiologist hypertension can be inherited and my father and grandmother both had it----
I was totally surprised when I found out I had hypertension----I was really active, ate very well, etc-----not sure what I could have done differently--

but thanks for the input

 
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Old 10-22-2008, 05:04 PM   #7
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Re: Another drug question----who else has stopped Norvasc and why

Quote:
Originally Posted by LeeAnn76 View Post
...Cindy McCain has high bp----a few years ago she was exercising and had lost weight and stopped taking her bp meds---and she had a stroke. ...
I think it may be important to point out that Cindy McCain was/is addicted to vicodin and to percocet....long term abuse of at least one of these meds can lead to hypertension and stroke. We don't know this woman's heath history, but I think it may be misleading to imply that her stroke occurred because she stopped taking her bp meds as that may be only part of the story.

 
Old 10-22-2008, 08:02 PM   #8
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Re: Another drug question----who else has stopped Norvasc and why

Hi,

I tried to stop my CCB - Felodipine- last year. I got very ill and was ordered to restart the drug after a week. My main reason for wanting to discontinue this drug was the terrible swelling of my feet, legs, and, more often than not, the abdomen as well. I feared that someday the swelling would also affect my lungs. I have a shortness of breath and could not bear the thought of edema spreading into my lungs. My doctor had warned me that it could happen.
Earlier this year I was switched to Norvasc. Nothing's changed. I still get the edema. It's sort of permanent now. I believe the CCB has caused my GERD as well. I read someone else's comments regarding this serious side effect of CCBs. This type of damage is permanent and irreversable, even if the medication is stopped.

flowergirl

 
Old 10-22-2008, 08:49 PM   #9
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Re: Another drug question----who else has stopped Norvasc and why

With blood pressure, it's all about balance.

Every person reacts to BP meds differantly, and has differant reasons for them being prescribed. When your BP meds are intolerable, and there are other options, I say try them.

If your BP is out of control, or putting your organs in jeopardy, you suck it up and go through any side effects you have to. It's about the balance.

Blood pressure control is a long term commitment, so you must weigh the side effects against the potential organ damage. There are as many combinations of treatments as there are patients, it's not about what works for other people, it's about taking the time to find the perfect balance for you.

I only know this because I have endured the damage, and know that no fussy tummy or headache is more unbearable than kidney failure, brain strokes, retinal strokes, heart attack, or death.

These things ( except death ) have all happened to me, and I was an athletic, healthy, active mother of two. I had no idea until too late, because I was never sick, I was never overweight, and in my 40's.

Dear friend, find a medication you can live with, and take it faithfully. It's worth all the trouble, and the time it does take to get it just right for you.

 
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Old 10-23-2008, 10:30 AM   #10
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Re: Another drug question----who else has stopped Norvasc and why

writeleft,

thank you for sharing your thoughts. I have come to the same conclusion as you about having to live with the side effects of our medication. I have been doing it for almost a couple of years now anyway. I too live with the consequences of damage from high blood pressure to my organs. I don't like the side effects but appreciate what these medications mean to my existence. Deep inside I know that putting up with the side effects of medication is a small price to pay for the privillage of being given a second chance.
The doctor I saw yesterday asked why I needed so many drugs when going over my medical history. I told him some were for high blood pressure and others for treating side effects, which is true. Luckily, most people with high blood pressure are able to prevent this type of damage, because their hypertension is diagnosed and treated in the early stages. Preventing end organ damage is the ultimate goal of treating high blood pressure. The only way this can be achieved is by keeping the blood pressure controlled with medication and lifestyle changes.

I am very sorry about everything you've been through. You are one brave, tough lady. I fully understand the message you are trying to get across and could not agree more. Good luck to you!

flowergirl

 
Old 10-26-2008, 07:47 AM   #11
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Re: Another drug question----who else has stopped Norvasc and why

I totally agree that there is a reason hypertension is called the silent killer--and I have always been religious about taking my meds. And my bp has been well-controlled---and according to blood work, etc, I have not suffered organ damage or other problems.

And it is possible by working with the doctor to find alternatives-----I have switched now from Norvasc to lisinopril---and my bp is doing fine. And I hope over time that the results of the side effects will lessen--in particular the numbness in my feet caused by the Norvasc. And other swelling as well.

I was lucky to be diagnosed 5 years ago before any damage was done, thank goodness.

And in may ways it is such an experiment to find what treatment works best for a particular person. Because there are so many choices, it seems to me it should be possible to find a combination with the least side effects---and I do understand that many of them lessen as the body adjusts.

Still, my original question remains to discover people who have discontinued a calcium channel blocker and have had relief from things like swelling and neuropathy---and in what time period.

 
Old 10-26-2008, 10:32 AM   #12
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Re: Another drug question----who else has stopped Norvasc and why

LeeAnn,

have you considered the possibility that your neuropathy is a result of another underlying condition, and not a side effect of the calcium channel blockers? How does it manifest itself? The pain, tingling and numbness in the extremities can often be a sign of a vitamin or a mineral deficiency, or a symptom of another medical condition. Do you have your blood glucose and thyroid levels checked regularly? I assume you get regular labwork done. Does your neuropathy involve pain in your feet, tingling, numbness, or a loss of feeling?

Your leg swelling should have resolved with the discontinuation of your CCB. Many people without hypertension get swollen feet if they spend too much time each day standing (like my pharmacist-she wears support hose) or traveling. Edema can be a symptom of other medical conditions if it persists after the "offending" drug has been discontinued.

I am glad to hear you're on an ACE inhibitor. Hopefully, there will not be any untolerable side effects. The cough (if any) often disappears after several weeks of therapy. I hope the ACE inhibitor gives you good blood pressure control. Good luck with that!

flowergirl

Last edited by flowergirl2day; 10-26-2008 at 10:33 AM.

 
Old 11-03-2008, 02:44 PM   #13
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Re: Another drug question----who else has stopped Norvasc and why

You can stop that Prilosec by taking some Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar. This stuff is a miracle.

Bre

Last edited by mod-anon; 11-03-2008 at 11:18 PM. Reason: Please use the Quick Reply button instead of Quote Reply.

 
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