Nicardipine Hydrochloride (Page 3 of 6)


I. Stable Angina

Nicardipine hydrochloride capsules are indicated for the management of patients with chronic stable angina (effort-associated angina). Nicardipine hydrochloride capsules may be used alone or in combination with beta-blockers.

II. Hypertension

Nicardipine hydrochloride capsules are indicated for the treatment of hypertension. Nicardipine hydrochloride capsules may be used alone or in combination with other antihypertensive drugs. In administering nicardipine hydrochloride it is important to be aware of the relatively large peak to trough differences in blood pressure effect (See DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).


Nicardipine hydrochloride capsules are contraindicated in patients with hypersensitivity to the drug. Because part of the effect of nicardipine hydrochloride capsules are secondary to reduced afterload, the drug is also contraindicated in patients with advanced aortic stenosis. Reduction of diastolic pressure in these patients may worsen rather than improve myocardial oxygen balance.


Increased Angina

About 7% of patients in short-term, placebo-controlled angina trials have developed increased frequency, duration or severity of angina on starting nicardipine hydrochloride capsules or at the time of dosage increases, compared with 4% of patients on placebo. Comparisons with beta-blockers also show a greater frequency of increased angina, 4% vs 1%. The mechanism of this effect has not been established (see ADVERSE REACTIONS).

Use in Patients With Congestive Heart Failure

Although preliminary hemodynamic studies in patients with congestive heart failure have shown that nicardipine hydrochloride capsules reduced afterload without impairing myocardial contractility, it has a negative inotropic effect in vitro and in some patients. Caution should be exercised when using the drug in congestive heart failure patients, particularly in combination with a beta-blocker.

Beta-Blocker Withdrawal

Nicardipine hydrochloride capsules are not a beta-blocker and therefore gives no protection against the dangers of abrupt beta-blocker withdrawal; any such withdrawal should be by gradual reduction of the dose of beta-blocker, preferably over 8 to 10 days.



Blood Pressure

Because nicardipine hydrochloride capsules decrease peripheral resistance, careful monitoring of blood pressure during the initial administration and titration of nicardipine hydrochloride capsules are suggested. Nicardipine hydrochloride capsules like other calcium channel blockers, may occasionally produce symptomatic hypotension. Caution is advised to avoid systemic hypotension when administering the drug to patients who have sustained an acute cerebral infarction or hemorrhage. Because of prominent effects at the time of peak blood levels, initial titration should be performed with measurements of blood pressure at peak effect (1 to 2 hours after dosing) and just before the next dose.

Use in Patients With Impaired Hepatic Function: Since the liver is the major site of biotransformation and since nicardipine hydrochloride capsules are subject to first pass metabolism, the drug should be used with caution in patients having impaired liver function or reduced hepatic blood flow. Patients with severe liver disease developed elevated blood levels (fourfold increase in AUC) and prolonged half-life (19 hours) of nicardipine (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).

Use in Patients With Impaired Renal Function: When nicardipine hydrochloride capsules 20 mg or 30 mg tid was given to hypertensive patients with mild renal impairment, mean plasma concentrations, AUC and C max were approximately twofold higher in renally impaired patients than in healthy controls. Doses in these patients must be adjusted (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY and DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).

Drug Interactions

Beta Blockers

In controlled clinical studies, adrenergic beta-receptor blockers have been frequently administered concomitantly with nicardipine hydrochloride capsules. The combination is well tolerated.


Cimetidine increases nicardipine hydrochloride capsules plasma levels. Patients receiving the two drugs concomitantly should be carefully monitored.


Some calcium blockers may increase the concentration of digitalis preparations in the blood. Nicardipine hydrochloride capsules usually do not alter the plasma levels of digoxin; however, serum digoxin levels should be evaluated after concomitant therapy with nicardipine hydrochloride capsules are initiated.

Maalox ®

Coadministration of Maalox TC had no effect on nicardipine hydrochloride capsules absorption.

Fentanyl Anesthesia

Severe hypotension has been reported during fentanyl anesthesia with concomitant use of a beta-blocker and a calcium channel blocker. Even though such interactions were not seen during clinical studies with nicardipine hydrochloride capsules, an increased volume of circulating fluids might be required if such an interaction were to occur.


Concomitant administration of oral or intravenous nicardipine and cyclosporine results in elevated plasma cyclosporine levels though nicardipine inhibition of hepatic microsomal enzymes, including CYP3A4. Plasma concentrations of cyclosporine should therefore be closely monitored, and its dosage reduced accordingly, in patients treated with nicardipine.

Tacrolimus: Concomitant administration of oral or intravenous nicardipine and tacrolimus may result in elevated plasma tacrolimus levels through nicardipine inhibition of hepatic microsomal enzymes, including CYP3A4. Closely monitor plasma concentrations of tacrolimus during nicardipine administration, and adjust the dose of tacrolimus accordingly.

When therapeutic concentrations of furosemide, propranolol, dipyridamole, warfarin, quinidine or naproxen were added to human plasma (in vitro), the plasma protein binding of nicardipine hydrochloride capsules were not altered.

Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility

Rats treated with nicardipine in the diet (at concentrations calculated to provide daily dosage levels of 5, 15 or 45 mg/kg/day) for 2 years showed a dose-dependent increase in thyroid hyperplasia and neoplasia (follicular adenoma/carcinoma). One- and 3 month studies in the rat have suggested that these results are linked to a nicardipine-induced reduction in plasma thyroxine (T4) levels with a consequent increase in plasma levels of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). Chronic elevation of TSH is known to cause hyperstimulation of the thyroid. In rats on an iodine deficient diet, nicardipine administration for 1 month was associated with thyroid hyperplasia that was prevented by T4 supplementation. Mice treated with nicardipine in the diet (at concentrations calculated to provide daily dosage levels of up to 100 mg/kg/day) for up to 18 months showed no evidence of neoplasia of any tissue and no evidence of thyroid changes. There was no evidence of thyroid pathology in dogs treated with up to 25 mg nicardipine/kg/day for 1 year and no evidence of effects of nicardipine on thyroid function (plasma T4 and TSH) in man.

There was no evidence of a mutagenic potential of nicardipine in a battery of genotoxicity tests conducted on microbial indicator organisms, in micronucleus tests in mice and hamsters, or in a sister chromatid exchange study in hamsters.

No impairment of fertility was seen in male or female rats administered nicardipine at oral doses as high as 100 mg/kg/day (50 times the 40 mg tid maximum recommended antianginal or antihypertensive dose in man, assuming a patient weight of 60 kg).

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