Generic name: Nicardipine hydrochloride.

Other brand name: Cardene SR.

Cardene is a calcium channel blocker. It increases the amount of oxygen that reaches the heart muscle. 

Quick Facts About Cardene


Used to treat chronic stable chest pain (angina) and high blood pressure. Also used to prevent migraine headaches, and with other medications such as Amicar is used to manage neurological problems after a stroke. Using Cardene to treat congestive heart failure has been studied.

Cardene Dosage

Take exactly as prescribed, even if symptoms disappear. Keep to your dosage schedule; if not taken regularly, condition may worsen. Cardene SR, a long-acting form, must be swallowed whole.

  • Usual adult dose: for chest pain (immediate-release only) — starting dose is 20 milligrams 3 times per day. Regular dose is 20 to 40 milligrams 3 times per day. For high blood pressure — starting dose is 20 milligrams 3 times per day. Regular dose is 20 to 40 milligrams 3 times per day. For Cardene SR — starting dose is 30 milligrams 2 times per day. Regular dose is 30 to 60 milligrams 2 times per day. For seniors — use with caution.
  • Usual child dose: not generally prescribed for children.
  • Missed dose: take as soon as possible, unless almost time for next dose. In that case, do not take missed dose; go back to regular schedule. Do not double doses.

Cardene Side Effects

Overdose symptoms:

confusion, drowsiness, severe low blood pressure, slow heartbeat, slurred speech. If you suspect an overdose, immediately seek medical attention.

More common side effects: dizziness, flushing, headache, increased chest pain, indigestion, nausea, pounding or rapid heartbeat, sleepiness, swelling of feet, weakness.

Less common Cardene side effects: abnormal dreaming, constipation, difficulty sleeping, drowsiness, dry mouth, excessive nighttime urination, fainting, fluid retention, muscle pain, nervousness, rash, shortness of breath, tingling or pins and needles, tremors, vomiting, vague feeling of bodily discomfort. Rare side effects: allergic reactions, anxiety, blurred vision, confusion, dizziness when standing, depression, hot flashes, increased movements, infection, inflammation of the nose, inflammation of the sinuses, impotence, joint pain, low blood pressure, more frequent urination, ringing in ears, sore throat, unusual chest pain, vertigo, vision changes.


Inform your doctor before combining Cardene with:

Amiodarone (Cordarone), Cimetidine (Tagamet), Cydosporine (Sandimmune), Digoxin (Lanoxin), Phenytoin (Dilantin), Propranolol (Inderal).

No known food/other substance interactions. 

Special Cautions

If pregnant or planning to become pregnant, inform your doctor immediately. May appear in breast milk; could affect a nursing baby.

Seniors should use with caution.

Not generally prescribed for children.

  • Should not take if you have advanced aortic stenosis.
  • Use with caution if you have: congestive heart failure (especially if taking a beta-blocker), light-headedness or fainting, liver disease or decreased liver function.
  • Should not take if sensitive to or allergic to this medication.
  • Check with your doctor before engaging in exercise or exertion.
  • Contact your doctor if you experience chest pain (increased) upon starting
  • Cardene or when dosage is increased.

Note: provides accurate and independent information prescription pills, over-the-counter medicines and natural products. This material is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have questions about  dosage, or Cardene side effects, please contact your healthcare provider.