Amlodipine is a medication that doctors prescribe to treat high blood pressure and reduce chest pain. Pharmacies in the United States fill millions of amlodipine prescriptions every year.

While taking amlodipine can be good for your heart health, some people may be concerned about its side effects, including potential liver damage.

This article will explore whether amlodipine can harm your liver. It will also include liver-friendly tips no matter what medications you’re taking.

Your liver contains enzymes that break down other proteins so your body can absorb them. It helps turn food into energy and removes toxins from your body.

These enzymes also break down many medications, including amlodipine. Cytochrome p450 enzymes break down amlodipine into its parts. This enables amlodipine to work in your body and for your body to then discard the waste portions.

Damage to your liver can cause it to release some enzymes into your bloodstream. Recent research has shown that amlodipine can cause levels of the enzymes aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) to increase. This suggests that amlodipine may cause drug-induced liver injury.

Researchers don’t quite know how amlodipine may cause liver injury. As the liver breaks amlodipine down, it may form a toxic compound.

People who take amlodipine may experience a mild elevation in their liver enzymes. This usually goes away quickly and doesn’t cause any significant symptoms or effects.

Few case reports exist that connect amlodipine to liver damage. Researchers estimate that liver damage due to any medication occurs in about 14 to 19 per 100,000 people.

In the very few published reports, the liver injury typically occurred 1 to 3 months after starting to take amlodipine.

If a person does experience liver problems after taking amlodipine, they’ll typically have jaundice symptoms. These symptoms include a yellow tint to the skin, flu-like symptoms, and fever.

Fortunately, there are no reports of amlodipine causing long-term liver damage. Symptoms usually go away when you stop taking the medication.

If your liver is sensitive to amlodipine, you may be at increased risk of liver problems if you take other calcium channel blockers, such as nicardipine, diltiazem, or verapamil.

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) occurs when you have more fat than is typical in your liver. Too much fat can contribute to later liver damage. About 23% of people with fatty liver disease (both NAFLD and from alcohol use) have elevated liver enzymes.

Research has not shown amlodipine to contribute to NAFLD. In fact, according to a recent study in mice with NAFLD and hypertension, amlodipine seemed to be protective against NAFLD. You can read more about this in the next section.

Currently, there are no medications that treat NAFLD. But doctors often search for medications that may help reduce the risks of liver damage.

The researchers in the 2021 study on mice found amlodipine helped to reduce ALT enzymes as well as potential contributors to NAFLD, such as triglycerides and cholesterol.

The study found amlodipine improved lipid (fat) metabolism in mice. It promoted the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut and the breaking down of compounds that otherwise lead to the progression of NAFLD.

While this is promising research, human trials will be needed before we know if amlodipine can have protective benefits against NAFLD.

Doctors often prescribe amlodipine to treat hypertension (high blood pressure). Research has also shown a link between high blood pressure and NAFLD.

So can people with NAFLD safely take amlodipine for high blood pressure?

While there are some reports of liver complications from amlodipine, they’re rare. And researchers still don’t know what causes the link.

For this reason, your doctor will likely consider it safe to prescribe amlodipine even if you have NAFLD.

People with liver disease can typically take amlodipine safely. Your doctor should review potential side effects related to taking amlodipine. These may include:

Liver toxicity is an uncommon side effect for patients with or without liver disease.

Amlodipine is a medication that can help lower your blood pressure. While amlodipine can cause side effects, liver disease is an uncommon one.

One animal study also found taking amlodipine could potentially improve fatty liver disease.

If your doctor prescribes amlodipine, it’s important to consider the risks and benefits so you can take it as safely as possible.