High blood pressure is defined as persistently raised blood pressure above a certain threshold (whether it is a clinic or home reading). People who have been diagnosed with high blood pressure (hypertension) will be advised by their doctors to start changing their lifestyle as well as start taking medication to prevent future health complications related to this chronic disease. Popular anti-hypertension medications include drugs with classes group such as diuretics (loop-diuretics, thiazide diuretics), Angiotensin-Renin Convertase Inhibitor (ACE-inhibitor), Calcium-Channel Blocker (CCB) and nitrates. Exforge is relatively a new anti-hypertensive medication that has combinations of two classes of drugs to lower blood pressure.
What is Exforge? Is it a diuretics?
Exforge is a dual-action drug that consists of Amlodipine Besylate (a CCB) and Valsartan (an Angiotensin II Receptor Blocker -ARB). Exforge is not a diuretics as the latter acts directly of the kidney tubules or structure and makes the user expel a lot of urine in order to decrease and control the blood pressure. Since Exforge has two main active ingredients, it exerts different mechanisms of actions as well and thus slightly different side effect profiles for the users.
Amlodipine Besylate acts to prevent the entering of calcium into the blood vessel wall which makes the latter to relax and lowering the blood pressure. Valsartan, on the other hand, acts on complicated pathways of the sensor on the kidneys to prevent signals to be sent to the heart which causes high blood pressure.
What are the side effects of Exforge? Are there any precautions and contra-indications of using this medication?
There are many side effects recorded for anti-hypertensive class CCB and ARB and because of this and the limited data from clinical trials done for Exforge, the lists provided here are not meant to cover all of them but only the major and some of the minors.
Common side effects of Exforge are such as low blood pressure (hypotension), limb swellings (peripheral oedema), dry cough and irregular heartbeats. Hypotension is probably the first time the patient is using the medication as their body is trying to adjust to simultaneous anti-hypertensive substances. Another reason can also be due to dose adjustment as certain people may require a lower dosage than the one prescribed by their doctor. Prolonged hypotension can be detrimental and Exforge users should ask for medical professional’s help if they are feeling light-headedness, dizzy or falling.
Another side effect of this medicine is limb swelling. This happens because of the action on the blood vessels dilatation which expanded and leaked the fluids inside the blood. This may cause discomfort and patients should seek a doctor’s help to exclude other causes of limb swellings and modify the drug dose. Other side effects such as dry cough and irregular heartbeats are quite common but usually resolved on its own or with cough syrup or change of drug respectively.
A clear warning should be provided by the doctor who prescribed this medication on women who want to get pregnant. Exforgecannot be used during pregnancy as it can cause serious fetal development problems as well as premature death.
In conclusion, there are many ways to lower blood pressure which includes exercise, a healthy balanced diet, and medications. It is important that people who are diagnosed with hypertension consult with their doctor about how to manage high blood pressure individually and effectively.