Cardiovascular disease is something that was extremely rare not long ago. In the past, only people born with an abnormal heart or other chronic diseases were at risk of experiencing such disorders, but a sedentary lifestyle and fast food are two culprits that have diseased the entire world with conditions like high blood pressure, artery diseases, and strokes. In modern times, even children under the age of 15 are experiencing conditions like angina without any birth abnormality. This is becoming an ever-increasing problem, therefore, pharmaceutical companies have been trying to develop medicine, a magic pill to say, for a long time now that would allow patients to live a healthy life even with a compromised heart; however, when trying to achieve such an impossible feat, some things are bound to go wrong, and that is what happened with the Amlodipine.
What is Amlodipine?
It is a type of calcium channel blocker, which means it restricts the flow of calcium within the heart vessels to prevent blockages in arteries. Calcium deposits occur in heart vessels when the flow of healthy blood starts restricting within the heart, and in theory, limiting the amount of calcium flowing through the blood can result in alleviating pain. Amlodipine is sold to both adults and children experiencing high blood pressure and coronary artery disease, it is only available under prescription. It is a type of 1,4-Dihydropyridine (DHP), which is an organic compound used heavily in commercial products, but more importantly, physicians state that DHP is a necessity for humans, thus, the inclusion of Amlodipine in the list of essential medicines by World Health Organization. Although the origins of this drug are unknown, the first Amlopinie was sold in the year 1990. Presently, it is used as one of the most common medications in heart-related disorders, and according to the statistics, over 73 million prescriptions were written for this medicine in 2019. It is available in the form of a tablet and suspension. Until 2007, Amlodipine was sold under the name of Norvasc because the patent was held by the American pharmaceutical company, Pfizer. After the said patent’s expiration, other companies started manufacturing their own Amlodipine tablets.
As previously mentioned, this drug is used widely to treat conditions like hypertension, coronary artery disease, and angina. The reason why it is used at such a large scale is that it can be administered in combination with other drugs due to its nonreactive nature. Since the elderly are most likely to take medication for their heart, this makes it a perfect choice for them as they can take Amlodipine along with other medicines. Interestingly, Amlodipine is also the most common drug prescribed to children under the age of 10 with heart diseases.
Amlodipine in combination with other calcium chain blockers is also used extensively to cure Raynaud Syndrome. In this, small arteries spasms result in end arterioles receiving limited blood flow. This condition can be easily identified by the fingers and hands turning pale due to lack of blood flow; however, when blood is recirculated in these parts, it burns and turns the skin red. Although most people confuse it with limbs falling asleep, it is not the same. Raynaud Syndrome was first discovered in 1862 by a French physician, Auguste Gabriel Maurice Raynaud.
Treating Cats & Dogs
Similar to humans, this drug is used by veterinarians around the world to treat heart-related disorders in both cats and dogs. In the case of cats, Amlodipine is used mostly to treat systemic hypertension; however, in some cases, it is also administered in cats to treat kidney diseases. Congestive heart failure is a condition that is treated by Amlodipine in dogs. While the side effects of this medicine are rarely seen in cats, it is known to produce Gingival enlargement in dogs. This condition enlarges the gums causing them to hurt and bleed.
Reason for the Ban
Contrary to the mass consensus, Amlodipine is NOT banned in Canada. It is fairly limited, it had been recalled several times, and it can only be bought with a prescription. The reason behind the recalls and the general idea of it being banned in Canada comes from a study published in 2001 by Mark R. Goldstein. This study lasted for 36 months to test the side effects of this drug after long-term usage. According to this study, prolonged usage of Amlodipine increases the risk of developing breast cancer and it includes invasive ductal breast cancer, which is the most common type of breast cancer. Interestingly, a group of physicians from the United Kingdom also conducted a similar study and concluded that Amlodipine doesn’t cause cancer. With two completely opposite results, it can be extremely difficult for authorities to implement the ban, and for this reason, Amlodipine isn’t banned in Canada.