Nifedipine was administered orally to rats for two years and was not shown to be carcinogenic. When given to rats prior to mating, nifedipine caused reduced fertility at a dose approximately 30 times the maximum recommended human dose. There is a literature report of reversible reduction in the ability of human sperm obtained from a limited number of infertile men taking recommended doses of nifedipine to bind to and fertilize an ovum in vitro. In vivo mutagenicity studies were negative.
Pregnancy Category C. In rodents, rabbits and monkeys, nifedipine has been shown to have a variety of embryotoxic, placentotoxic and fetotoxic effects, including stunted fetuses (rats, mice and rabbits), digital anomalies (rats and rabbits), rib deformities (mice), cleft palate (mice), small placentas and underdeveloped chorionic villi (monkeys), embryonic and fetal deaths (rats, mice and rabbits), prolonged pregnancy (rats; not evaluated in other species), and decreased neonatal survival (rats; not evaluated in other species). On a mg/kg or mg/m2 basis, some of the doses associated with these various effects are higher than the maximum recommended human dose and some are lower, but all are within an order of magnitude of it.
The digital anomalies seen in nifedipine-exposed rabbit pups are strikingly similar to those seen in pups exposed to phenytoin, and these are in turn similar to the phalangeal deformities that are the most common malformation seen in human children with in utero exposure to phenytoin.
There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. Nifedipine should generally be avoided during pregnancy and used only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.
Nifedipine is excreted in human milk. Therefore, a decision should be made to discontinue nursing or to discontinue the drug, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother.
Although small pharmacokinetic studies have identified an increased half-life and increased Cmax and AUC (See CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY: Pharmacokinetics and Metabolism), clinical studies of nifedipine did not include sufficient numbers of subjects aged 65 and over to determine whether they respond differently from younger subjects. Other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients. In general, dose selection for an elderly patient should be cautious, usually starting at the low end of the dosing range, reflecting the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac function, and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy.
The incidence of adverse events during treatment with nifedipine extended-release tablets in doses up to 90 mg daily were derived from multi-center placebo-controlled clinical trials in 370 hypertensive patients. Atenolol 50 mg once daily was used concomitantly in 187 of the 370 patients on nifedipine extended-release tablets and in 64 of the 126 patients on placebo. All adverse events reported during nifedipine extended-release tablets therapy were tabulated independently of their causal relationship to medication.
The most common adverse event reported with nifedipine extended-release tablets was peripheral edema. This was dose related and the frequency was 18% on nifedipine extended-release tablets 30 mg daily, 22% on nifedipine extended-release tablets 60 mg daily and 29% on nifedipine extended-release tablets 90 mg daily versus 10% on placebo.
Other common adverse events reported in the above placebo-controlled trials include:
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Where the frequency of adverse events with nifedipine extended-release tablets and placebo is similar, causal relationship cannot be established.
The following adverse events were reported with an incidence of 3% or less in daily doses up to 90 mg:
Body as a Whole/Systemic: chest pain, leg pain
Central Nervous System: paresthesia, vertigo
Musculoskeletal: leg cramps
Respiratory: epistaxis, rhinitis
Urogenital: impotence, urinary frequency
Other adverse events reported with an incidence of less than 1.0% were:
Body as a Whole/Systemic: allergic reaction, asthenia, cellulitis, substernal chest pain, chills, facial edema, lab test abnormal, malaise, neck pain, pelvic pain, pain, photosensitivity reaction
Cardiovascular: atrial fibrillation, bradycardia, cardiac arrest, extrasystole, hypotension, migraine, palpitations, phlebitis, postural hypotension, tachycardia, cutaneous angiectases
Central Nervous System: anxiety, confusion, decreased libido, depression, hypertonia, hypesthesia, insomnia, somnolence
Dermatologic: angioedema, petechial rash, pruritus, sweating
Gastrointestinal: abdominal pain, diarrhea, dry mouth, dysphagia, dyspepsia, eructation, esophagitis, flatulence, gastrointestinal disorder, gastrointestinal hemorrhage, GGT increased, gum disorder, gum hemorrhage, vomiting
Hematologic: eosinophilia, lymphadenopathy
Metabolic: gout, weight loss
Musculoskeletal: arthralgia, arthritis, joint disorder, myalgia, myasthenia
Respiratory: dyspnea, increased cough, rales, pharyngitis, stridor
Special Senses: abnormal vision, amblyopia, conjunctivitis, diplopia, eye disorder, eye hemorrhage, tinnitusUrogenital/Reproductive: dysuria, kidney calculus, nocturia, breast engorgement, polyuria, urogenital disorder
The following adverse events have been reported rarely in patients given nifedipine in coat core or other formulations: allergenic hepatitis, alopecia, anaphylactic reaction, anemia, arthritis with ANA (+), depression, erythromelalgia, exfoliative dermatitis, fever, gingival hyperplasia, gynecomastia, hyperglycemia, jaundice, leukopenia, mood changes, muscle cramps, nervousness, paranoid syndrome, purpura, shakiness, sleep disturbances, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, syncope, taste perversion, thrombocytopenia, toxic epidermal necrolysis, transient blindness at the peak of plasma level, tremor and urticaria.
Experience with nifedipine overdosage is limited. Symptoms associated with severe nifedipine overdosage include loss of consciousness, drop in blood pressure, heart rhythm disturbances, metabolic acidosis, hypoxia, cardiogenic shock with pulmonary edema. Generally, overdosage with nifedipine leading to pronounced hypotension calls for active cardiovascular support including monitoring of cardiovascular and respiratory function, elevation of extremities, judicious use of calcium infusion, pressor agents and fluids. Clearance of nifedipine would be expected to be prolonged in patients with impaired liver function. Since nifedipine is highly protein bound, dialysis is not likely to be of any benefit; however, plasmapheresis may be beneficial.
There has been one reported case of massive overdosage with tablets of another extended-release formulation of nifedipine. The main effects of ingestion of approximately 4800 mg of nifedipine in a young man attempting suicide as a result of cocaine-induced depression was initial dizziness, palpitations, flushing, and nervousness.Within several hours of ingestion, nausea, vomiting, and generalized edema developed. No significant hypotension was apparent at presentation, 18 hours post ingestion. Blood chemistry abnormalities consisted of a mild, transient elevation of serum creatinine, and modest elevations of LDH and CPK, but normal SGOT. Vital signs remained stable, no electrocardiographic abnormalities were noted and renal function returned to normal within 24 to 48 hours with routine supportive measures alone. No prolonged sequelae were observed.
The effect of a single 900 mg ingestion of nifedipine capsules in a depressed anginal patient on tricyclic antidepressants was loss of consciousness within 30 minutes of ingestion, and profound hypotension, which responded to calcium infusion, pressor agents, and fluid replacement. A variety of ECG abnormalities were seen in this patient with a history of bundle branch block, including sinus bradycardia and varying degrees of AV block. These dictated the prophylactic placement of a temporary ventricular pacemaker, but otherwise resolved spontaneously. Significant hyperglycemia was seen initially in this patient, but plasma glucose levels rapidly normalized without further treatment.
A young hypertensive patient with advanced renal failure ingested 280 mg of nifedipine capsules at one time, with resulting marked hypotension responding to calcium infusion and fluids. No AV conduction abnormalities, arrhythmias, or pronounced changes in heart rate were noted, nor was there any further deterioration in renal function.
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