Sounds like 'nye-FED-i-peen'

Key points about nifedipine

  • Nifedipine is used to treat high blood pressure, Raynaud's syndrome and to prevent angina (chest pain).
  • It belongs to a group of medicines called calcium channel blockers.
  • Nifedipine is also called Adalat®, Nyefax Retard® or Adefin®.
  • Find out how to take it safely and possible side effects.
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Nifedipine is used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) and to prevent angina (chest pain). It may help to increase your ability to exercise and decrease how often you get chest pain. It works by relaxing your blood vessels so blood can flow more easily, and in this way lowers your blood pressure. Nifedipine has also been used to treat Raynaud's syndrome, which is caused by poor circulation to the hands and feet. In Aotearoa New Zealand, nifedipine is available as slow release tablets, in different strengths (20 mg, 30 mg and 60 mg).  The 10mg strength is being discontinued in Aotearoa New Zealand from July 2023.

  • The dose of nifedipine will be different for different people. Your doctor will tell you which dose is right for you.  
  • Always take your nifedipine exactly as your doctor has told you. The pharmacy label on your medicine will tell you how much nifedipine to take, how often to take it, and any special instructions.

  • Timing: Nifedipine tablets are usually taken once or two times a day. Try taking your nifedipine dose at the same times each day.  You can take nifedipine with or without food.
  • Swallow your tablet whole with a glass of water. Do not break, crush or chew the tablets, as this releases all the medicine at once and increases your chance of side effects. 
  • Limit alcohol while you are taking nifedipine. It may increase your chance of side effects such as feeling dizzy.
  • Missed dose: If you forget your dose, take it as soon as you remember. But, if it is nearly time for your next dose, just take the next dose at the right time. Do not take double the dose.

  • Do you have problems with your liver?
  • Do you have heart problems such as heart failure or have you had a heart attack recently?
  • Do you have diabetes?
  • Are you pregnant, trying for a baby or breastfeeding?
  • Are you taking any other medicines? This includes any medicines you buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.

If so, it’s important that you tell your doctor or pharmacist before you start nifedipine. Sometimes a medicine isn’t suitable for a person with certain conditions, or it can only be used with extra care.

Like all medicines nifedipine can cause side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often side effects improve as your body gets used to the new medicine.

Side effects What should I do?
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Feeling flushed (red in the face)
  • Nausea (feeling sick)
  • These are quite common when you first start taking nifedipine and usually go away after the first few days
  • Tell your doctor if troublesome
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling lightheaded
  • Feeling faint when you stand up
  • Be careful when getting up from either lying down or sitting to avoid falls. These effects put you at risk of falls and injuries, especially if you are elderly
  • Be careful when driving or using tools until you know how this medicine affects you
  • Avoid drinking alcohol
  • Tell your doctor if troublesome
  • Swollen ankles or feet
  • Tell your doctor
  • Changes in your heartbeat (either too fast or irregular)
  • Tell your doctor
  • Worsening chest pain, shortness of breath, pain in the chest
  • Tell your doctor immediately or ring HealthLine 0800 611 116
Did you know that you can report a side effect to a medicine to CARM (Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring)? Report a side effect to a product(external link)

Nifedipine may interact with a few medications and herbal supplements, so check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting nifedipine or before starting any new medicines, including those you may buy over the counter.

The following links have more information on nifedipine.

Medsafe Consumer Information Sheet:
Adalat(external link)
Nyefax Retard(external link)

New Zealand Formulary Patient Information: Nifedipine(external link)


5 questions to ask about your medications(external link) Health Quality and Safety Commission, NZ, 2019 English(external link), te reo Māori(external link)


  1. Nifedipine(external link) New Zealand Formulary
  2. Medical management of stable angina pectoris(external link) BPAC, 2011

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Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist, Healthify He Puna Waiora. Healthify is brought to you by Health Navigator Charitable Trust.

Reviewed by: Angela Lambie, Pharmacist, Auckland

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