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Procardia is a brand name prescription drug which is also known as Adalat, or by the generic name Nifedipine. These medications all belong to a class called calcium channel blockers, which do just as the name suggests. They block calcium from entering the smooth muscle cells which line the arteries in the body, specifically the coronary arteries. Calcium is such an important part of muscle contraction. Therefore, blocking calcium from these areas relaxes the artery muscles, and causes the arteries to dilate. When the coronary arteries are contracting, this is known as coronary artery spasms. This drug can be useful in treating and preventing chest pain known as angina, simply by relaxing the coronary arteries.
Angina is a result of lack of oxygen to the muscles in the heart. Insufficient oxygen may be caused by a blockage or spasm of the arteries to the heart. It may also be caused by physical exertion. Exertion increases the hearts demand for oxygen in people with artery narrowing. Procardia is used to treat and prevent angina caused by coronary artery spasms and exertion. It can also be used to treat patients with high blood pressure. Another use for Procardia is to open the vessels which are having spasms, causing Raynaud’s phenomenon.
Procardia should not be taken if you are pregnant or nursing. The effects of Procardia when taken during pregnancy has not been studied adequately. Research done on animals leads scientist to believe that there may be possible birth defects associated with this drug. It is also unknown whether or not Procardia shows up in breast milk and can affect a nursing baby. It is also very important that you tell your doctor which medications you are currently taking. Mixing Procardia with other medications may have a negative or adverse effect on you. Drinking grapefruit juice while taking this medication should be avoided because the juice can dramatically increase the effect of Procardia.
Mild side effect include: headache, dizziness, and swelling of the lower body mainly the legs. Nausea and constipation have also been reported. However, these side effect are reversible.