Nicardipine Hydrochloride

NICARDIPINE HYDROCHLORIDE — nicardipine hydrochloride injection
Emcure Pharmaceuticals Ltd.


Nicardipine is a calcium ion influx inhibitor (slow channel blocker or calcium channel blocker). Nicardipine hydrochloride injection for intravenous administration contains 2.5 mg/mL of nicardipine hydrochloride.

m -nitrophenyl)-3,5-pyridinedicarboxylate monohydrochloride and has the following structure:
Nicardipine Structure
(click image for full-size original)

C26 H29 N3 O6 •HCl


Mechanism of Action:

Nicardipine inhibits the transmembrane influx of calcium ions into cardiac muscle and smooth muscle without changing serum calcium concentrations. The contractile processes of cardiac muscle and vascular smooth muscle are dependent upon the movement of extracellular calcium ions into these cells through specific ion channels. The effects of nicardipine are more selective to vascular smooth muscle than cardiac muscle. In animal models, nicardipine produced relaxation of coronary vascular smooth muscle at drug levels which cause little or no negative inotropic effect.

Pharmacokinetics and Metabolism:

Following infusion, nicardipine plasma concentrations decline tri-exponentially, with a rapid early distribution phase ((alpha)-half-life of 2.7 minutes), an intermediate phase ((beta)-half-life of 44.8 minutes), and a slow terminal phase ((gamma)-half-life of 14.4 hours) that can only be detected after long-term infusions. Total plasma clearance (Cl) is 0.4 L/hr·kg, and the apparent volume of distribution (Vd ) using a non-compartment model is 8.3 L/kg. The pharmacokinetics of nicardipine hydrochloride injection are linear over the dosage range of 0.5 to 40 mg/hr.

Rapid dose-related increases in nicardipine plasma concentrations are seen during the first two hours after the start of an infusion of nicardipine hydrochloride injection. Plasma concentrations increase at a much slower rate after the first few hours, and approach steady state at 24 to 48 hours. On termination of the infusion, nicardipine concentrations decrease rapidly, with at least a 50% decrease during the first two hours post-infusion. The effects of nicardipine on blood pressure significantly correlate with plasma concentrations.

Nicardipine is highly protein bound (>95%) in human plasma over a wide concentration range.

Nicardipine hydrochloride injection has been shown to be rapidly and extensively metabolized by the liver. After coadministration of a radioactive intravenous dose of nicardipine hydrochloride injection with an oral 30 mg dose given every 8 hours, 49% of the radioactivity was recovered in the urine and 43% in the feces within 96 hours. None of the dose was recovered as unchanged nicardipine.

Nicardipine does not induce or inhibit its own metabolism and does not induce or inhibit hepatic microsomal enzymes.
The steady-state pharmacokinetics of nicardipine are similar in elderly hypertensive patients (>65 years) and young healthy adults.


Nicardipine hydrochloride injection produces significant decreases in systemic vascular resistance. In a study of intra-arterially administered nicardipine hydrochloride injection, the degree of vasodilation and the resultant decrease in blood pressure were more prominent in hypertensive patients than in normotensive volunteers. Administration of nicardipine hydrochloride injection to normotensive volunteers at dosages of 0.25 to 3 mg/hr for eight hours produced changes of <5 mmHg in systolic blood pressure and <3 mmHg in diastolic blood pressure.

An increase in heart rate is a normal response to vasodilation and decrease in blood pressure; in some patients these increases in heart rate may be pronounced. In placebo-controlled trials, the mean increases in heart rate were 7±1 bpm in postoperative patients and 8±1 bpm in patients with severe hypertension at the end of the maintenance period.

Hemodynamic studies following intravenous dosing in patients with coronary artery disease and normal or moderately abnormal left ventricular function have shown significant increases in ejection fraction and cardiac output with no significant change, or a small decrease, in left ventricular end-diastolic pressure (LVEDP). There is evidence that nicardipine increases blood flow. Coronary dilatation induced by nicardipine hydrochloride injection improves perfusion and aerobic metabolism in areas with chronic ischemia, resulting in reduced lactate production and augmented oxygen consumption. In patients with coronary artery disease, nicardipine hydrochloride injection, administered after beta-blockade, significantly improved systolic and diastolic left ventricular function.

In congestive heart failure patients with impaired left ventricular function, nicardipine hydrochloride injection increased cardiac output both at rest and during exercise. Decreases in left ventricular end-diastolic pressure were also observed. However, in some patients with severe left ventricular dysfunction, it may have a negative inotropic effect and could lead to worsened failure.

“Coronary steal” has not been observed during treatment with nicardipine hydrochloride injection (Coronary steal is the detrimental redistribution of coronary blood flow in patients with coronary artery disease from underperfused areas toward better perfused areas.) Nicardipine hydrochloride injection has been shown to improve systolic shortening in both normal and hypokinetic segments of myocardial muscle. Radionuclide angiography has confirmed that wall motion remained improved during increased oxygen demand. (Occasional patients have developed increased angina upon receiving nicardipine capsules. Whether this represents coronary steal in these patients, or is the result of increased heart rate and decreased diastolic pressure, is not clear.)

In patients with coronary artery disease, nicardipine hydrochloride injection improves left ventricular diastolic distensibility during the early filling phase, probably due to a faster rate of myocardial relaxation in previously under perfused areas. There is little or no effect on normal myocardium, suggesting the improvement is mainly by indirect mechanisms such as afterload reduction and reduced ischemia. Nicardipine hydrochloride injection has no negative effect on myocardial relaxation at therapeutic doses.

The clinical benefits of these properties have not yet been demonstrated.

Electrophysiologic Effects:

In general, no detrimental effects on the cardiac conduction system have been seen with nicardipine hydrochloride injection. During acute electrophysiologic studies, it increased heart rate and prolonged the corrected QT interval to a minor degree. It did not affect sinus node recovery or SA conduction times. The PA, AH, and HV intervals* or the functional and effective refractory periods of the atrium were not prolonged. The relative and effective refractory periods of the His-Purkinje system were slightly shortened.

*PA=conduction time from high to low right atrium; AH=conduction time from low right atrium to His bundle deflection, or AV nodal conduction time; HV=conduction time through the His bundle and the bundle branch-Purkinje system.

Hepatic Function:

Because nicardipine is extensively metabolized by the liver, plasma concentrations are influenced by changes in hepatic function. In a clinical study with nicardipine capsules in patients with severe liver disease, plasma concentrations were elevated and the half-life was prolonged (see “ PRECAUTIONS”). Similar results were obtained in patients with hepatic disease when nicardipine hydrochloride injection was administered for 24 hours at 0.6 mg/hr.

Renal Function:

When nicardipine hydrochloride injection was given to mild to moderate hypertensive patients with moderate degrees of renal impairment, significant reduction in glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and effective renal plasma flow (RPF) was observed. No significant differences in liver blood flow were observed in these patients. A significantly lower systemic clearance and higher area under the curve (AUC) were observed.

When nicardipine capsules (20 mg or 30 mg TID) were given to hypertensive patients with impaired renal function, mean plasma concentrations, AUC, and Cmax were approximately two-fold higher than in healthy controls. There is a transient increase in electrolyte excretion, including sodium (see “PRECAUTIONS”).

Acute bolus administration of nicardipine hydrochloride injection (2.5 mg) in healthy volunteers decreased mean arterial pressure and renal vascular resistance; glomerular filtration rate (GFR), renal plasma flow (RPF), and the filtration fraction were unchanged. In healthy patients undergoing abdominal surgery, nicardipine hydrochloride injection (10 mg over 20 minutes) increased GFR with no change in RPF when compared with placebo. In hypertensive Type II diabetic patients with nephropathy, nicardipine capsules (20 mg TID) did not change RPF and GFR, but reduced renal vascular resistance.

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