Calcium channel blockers are an entirely different group of medications
These agents reduce the flow of calcium into cells, which produces relaxation
of blood vessel walls. These agents increase blood flow to the heart,
and as well, reduce the work of the heart. They may also relax the walls
of other arteries and lower blood pressure.
Calcium blockers are used for the treatment of angina and hypertension.
One of the calcium blockers is also used for the treatment of arrhythmias.
There has been news media attention in recent years to the question of
safety of calcium channel blockers in patients with coronary artery disease
and hypertension. These concerns pertain to short acting agents. There
have been many studies with all classes of calcium channel blockers. In
general, when used in patients who do not have congestive heart failure,
the heart rate limiting calcium channel blockers ( verapamil and diltiazem)
are safe to use in Coronary Artery Disease ( CAD) patients. Non heart
rate limiting calcium channel blockers (nifedipine, amlodipine and felodipine)
are safe to use in hypertension but are best avoided in CAD patients unless
they are given with a Beta-blocker or unless the patients heart rate is
Side effects include headache, flushing, dizziness, lightheadedness, swelling
of ankles and constipation.
Take a missed dose of this drug within four hours but do not take a double
dose to make up for a missed dose. To minimize dizziness, rise slowly
from a sitting or lying position. Alcohol intake can make dizziness worse.
Foods and drinks containing calcium can still be included in your diet
in reasonable amounts. Prevent constipation by increasing your fluid and
Currently available calcium blockers:
Nifedipine (Adalat XL)
Felodipine (Plendil, Renedil)
Verapamil (Isoptin SR, Chronovera)
Diltiazem (Cardizem CD, Tiazac)