Lercanidipine is a medicine used to treat high blood pressure.

If you have high blood pressure, taking lercanidipine helps prevent heart disease, heart attacks and strokes.

Lercanidipine is only available on prescription. It comes as tablets.

  • Lercanidipine lowers your blood pressure and makes it easier for your heart to pump blood around your body.
  • It’s usual to take lercanidipine once a day. You can take it at any time of day but try to make sure it’s around the same time each day.
  • It’s best to take lercanidipine on an empty stomach. Fatty food can increase the amount of lercanidipine your body takes in and make you more likely to have side effects.
  • Don’t eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice while you’re taking lercanidipine. It can make side effects worse.
  • If you get severe vomiting or diarrhoea from a stomach bug or illness, tell your doctor. You may need to stop taking lercanidipine for a while until you feel better.
  • Lercanidipine is also called by the brand name Zanidip.

Lercanidipine can be taken by adults aged 18 and over.
Lercanidipine isn’t suitable for some people.

Tell your doctor before starting lercanidipine if you:

  • have had an allergic reaction to lercanidipine or any other medicine in the past
  • are trying to get pregnant, are already pregnant or you are breastfeeding
  • have liver or kidney disease
  • have heart disease or have had a recent heart attack

Always take lercanidipine exactly as your doctor has told you, and follow the directions on the label. If you’re not sure, check with your doctor or pharmacist.

It’s usual to take lercanidipine once a day. You can take
lercanidipine at any time of day but try to make sure it’s around the same time every day. Most people take it in the morning.

How much will I take?

Lercanidipine comes as 10mg and 20mg tablets.

The usual starting dose of lercanidipine is 10mg once a day. If this
dose isn’t working well enough (your blood pressure stays too high), you may need to increase your dose to 20mg once a day. Your doctor will tell you if you need to do this.

How to take it

Take lercanidipine on an empty stomach, at least 15 minutes before a meal. This is because fatty food can increase the amount of lercanidipine your body takes in and make you more likely to have side effects.

Swallow lercanidipine tablets whole with a drink of water. Some brands have a score line to help you break the tablet to make it easier to swallow. Check the information leaflet for your brand to see if you can do this.

Don’t eat or drink lots of grapefruit or grapefruit juice while
you’re taking this medicine. Grapefruit can increase the concentration of lercanidipine in your body and worsen side effects.

Like all medicines, lercanidipine can cause side effects although not everyone gets them. Side effects often improve as your body gets used to the medicine.

Common side effects

Common side effects happen in more than 1 in 100 people. They are usually mild and short-lived. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if the side effects bother you or last for more than a few days.

The most common side effects of lercanidipine are:

Serious side effects

Serious side effects of lercanidipine are rare and happen in less than 1 in 1,000 people.

Tell a doctor straight away if you get chest pain that is new or worse – this side effect needs to be checked out as chest pain is a possible symptom of a heart attack.

Serious allergic reaction

In rare cases, it’s possible to have a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to lercanidipine.

What to do about:

  • headaches – make sure you rest and drink plenty of
    fluids. Don’t drink too much alcohol. Ask your pharmacist to recommend a painkiller. Talk to your doctor if headaches last longer than a week or are severe.
  • feeling dizzy – if lercanidipine makes you feel dizzy, stop what you’re doing and sit or lie down until you feel better.
  • flushing – try cutting down on coffee, tea and alcohol. It might help to keep the room cool and use a fan. You could also spray your face with cool water or sip cold or iced drinks. The flushing should go away after a few days. If it doesn’t go away, or if it’s causing you problems, contact your doctor.
  • swollen ankles – raise your legs when you’re sitting down.

These side effects should go away after the first week of taking lercanidipine. Tell your doctor if they last longer than this or get worse.

Lercanidipine is not normally recommended in pregnancy or when breastfeeding.

If you’re trying to get pregnant or you’re already pregnant, talk to your doctor about the benefits and possible harms of taking lercanidipine. There may be other blood pressure-lowering medicines that are safer for you.

Lercanidipine and breastfeeding

Small amounts of lercanidipine may get into breast milk, but it’s not known if this is harmful to the baby. Talk to your doctor as other blood pressure-lowering medicines might be better while you are breastfeeding.

If you take other medicines that lower blood pressure, such as ramipril and lisinopril, at
the same time as lercanidipine, the combination can sometimes lower your blood pressure too much. This may make you feel dizzy or faint. If this keeps happening to you, tell your doctor as your doses may need to be changed.

Some medicines can interfere with the way lercanidipine works.

Lercanidipine can also interfere with the way some other medicines work.

Tell your doctor before taking lercanidipine if you’re taking any of these medicines:

  • aminophylline or theophylline (medicines to ease breathing)
  • the antifungal itraconazole
  • the antibiotic erythromycin
  • digoxin, a heart medicine
  • medicines to treat HIV
  • the epilepsy medicines: carbamazepine, phenytoin, phenobarbital (phenobarbitone) or primidone
  • ciclosporin, a medicine to stop your immune system overreacting

Mixing lercanidipine with herbal remedies or supplements

There’s very little information about taking herbal remedies
and supplements with lercanidipine. To be safe, speak to your pharmacist or doctor before taking any herbal or alternative remedies with it.

How does lercanidipine work?