Calcium Channel Blockers

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What are calcium channel blockers and how do they work?

In order to pump blood, the heart needs oxygen. The harder the heart works, the more oxygen it requires. Angina (heart pain) occurs when the supply of oxygen to the heart is inadequate for the amount of work that the heart must do. By dilating the arteries, calcium channel blockers or CCBs reduce the pressure in the arteries. This makes it easier for the heart to pump blood, and, as a result, the heart needs less oxygen. By reducing the heart's need for oxygen, calcium channel blockers relieve or prevent angina. Calcium channel blockerss also are used for treating high blood pressure because of their blood pressure-lowering effects. Calcium channel blockers decrease the excitability of heart muscle and are therefore used for treating certain types of abnormally rapid heart rhythms.

What calcium channel blockers are available?

The calcium channel blockers that have been approved for use in the US include:

Discontinued brands in the US:

  • Tekamlo
  • Dynacirc
  • Cardene
  • Amturnide
  • Plendil
  • Nimotop
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/19/2016

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