Penn State Hershey Medical Center home Penn State Hershey Medical Center home Penn State Hershey: Patient Care home Penn State Hershey: Education home Penn State Hershey: Research home Penn State Hershey: Community home
Penn State Hershey Health Information Library
  Library Home
  Find A Physician
  Find A Practice
  Request An Appointment
  Search Clinical Studies
  Classes and Support Groups
  Ask A Health Librarian
  Subscribe to eNewsletters


Penn State Hershey Health Information Centers
  Bone and Joint
  Cancer
  Children
  Heart
  Men
  Neurology
  Pregnancy
  Seniors
  Women

        Follow Us
Drug treatments: Calcium channel blockers

Calcium channel blockers have an immediate effect on reducing blood pressure. They work by relaxing and expanding the blood vessels, allowing blood to pass through more easily. However, studies report that they are inferior to other high blood pressure medications in preventing heart attacks, stroke, or kidney complications. They are often more expensive than diuretics or beta-blockers. Some experts now believe they should be used mainly as a second-line agent.

No one should ever stop taking these drugs abruptly, because such action could dangerously increase the risk of high blood pressure.

These drugs include:

  • Diltiazem (Cardizem, Dilacor)
  • Amlodipine (Norvasc)
  • Verapamil (Calan, Isoptin, Verelan)
  • Nisoldipine (Sular)
  • Nicardipine (Cardene)
  • Nifedipine (Adalat, Procardia)
  • Isradipine (DynaCirc)
  • Lercanidipine (Zanidip)
  • Felodipine (Plendil)
  • Nitredipine (Cardif, Nitrepin)

Side effects

Side effects vary among different preparations and may include:

  • Fluid accumulation in the feet
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Impotence
  • Gingivitis
  • Flushing
  • Allergic symptoms

Newer drugs, such as lercanidipine, may reduce or avoid many of these side effects.

Grapefruit and Seville oranges (used in some marmalades) may have a harmful interaction with calcium channel blockers, particularly in the elderly.

 

Main Menu

Review Date: 6/8/2011
Reviewed By: Steven Kang, MD, Division of Cardiac Pacing and Electrophysiology, East Bay Arrhythmia, Cardiovascular Consultants Medical Group, Oakland, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., a business unit of Ebix, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
adam.com