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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. After oral ingestion, thorough gastric lavage is indicated, if necessary in combination with irrigation of the small intestine. In cases involving overdosage of a slow-release product like nifedipine, elimination must be as complete as possible, including from the small intestine, to prevent the subsequent absorption of the active substance. Additional liquid or volume must be administered with caution because of the risk of fluid overload.
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.
Bradycardiac heart rhythm disturbances may be treated symptomatically with ß-sympathomimetics, and in life-threatening bradycardiac disturbances of heart rhythm temporary pacemaker therapy can be advisable.
Concomitant administration with strong P450 inducers, such as rifampin, are contraindicated since the efficacy of nifedipine tablets could be significantly reduced. (See PRECAUTIONS: DRUG INTERACTIONS.)
Nifedipine must not be used in cases of cardiogenic shock.
Adalat is contraindicated in patients with a known hypersensitivity to any component of the tablet.
Last reviewed on RxList: 4/14/2011
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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