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Doctors' Answers to "Frequently Asked Questions" - Nifedipine

These comments are made for the purpose of discussion and should NOT be used as recommendations for or against therapies or other treatments. An individual patient is always advised to consult their own physician.

Question: To control preterm labor, I have been taking nifedipine (20 mg, every 6 hours) since week 19 of my pregnancy. What long term effects might this have on my baby and me?

Answer: Nifedipine is a calcium channel blocker. It is used in various situations to block the contraction of smooth muscle. It is commonly used to treat blood pressure, angina pectoris, Raynaud's Disease and esophageal spasm. Common side effects are swollen feet, constipation, and low blood pressure. Effects on pregnancy have only been studied in rats- where it is classified a Class C agent. It was shown to cause defects in doses 30 times human doses and had effects on growth at levels of 3-10 times human dosage. Studies in humans have not been performed.

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