This medication is used to prevent certain types of chest pain (angina). It may allow you to exercise more and decrease the frequency of angina attacks. Nifedipine belongs to a class of medications known as calcium channel blockers. It works by relaxing blood vessels so blood can flow more easily. This medication must be taken regularly to be effective. It should not be used to treat attacks of chest pain when they occur. Use other medications (such as sublingual nitroglycerin) to relieve attacks of chest pain as directed by your doctor. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for details.Older adults should discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with their doctor or pharmacist, as well as other possibly safer forms of nifedipine (such as the long-acting tablets).
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The approved uses are for the long-term treatment of hypertension and angina pectoris. In hypertension, recent clinical guidelines generally favour diuretics and ACE inhibitors, although calcium channel antagonists, along with thiazide diuretics, are still favoured as primary treatment for patients over 55 and black patients.
Nifedipine was patented in 1967, and approved for use in the United States in 1981. It is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines. It is available as a generic medication. In 2019, it was the 118th most commonly prescribed medication in the United States, with more than 5 million prescriptions.