Calcium Channel Blockers (CCBs)

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

  • Medical Editor: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

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What are the side effects of calcium channel blockers?

The most common side effects of calcium channel blockers are:

Liver dysfunction and over growth of the gums also occurs.

When diltiazem (Cardizem) or verapamil (Calan, Isoptin) are given to individuals with heart failure, symptoms of heart failure may worsen because these drugs reduce the ability of the heart to pump blood.

Like other blood pressure medications, calcium channel blockers are associated with sexual dysfunction.

For what conditions are calcium channel blockers used?

Calcium channel blockers are used for treating:

They also may be used after a heart attack, particularly among patients who cannot tolerate beta-blocking drugs, have atrial fibrillation, or require treatment for their angina.

Unlike beta blockers, calcium channel blockers have not been shown to reduce mortality or additional heart attacks after a heart attack.

Calcium channel blockers are as effective as ACE inhibitors in reducing blood pressure, but they may not be as effective as ACE inhibitors in preventing the kidney failure caused by high blood pressure or diabetes.

Calcium channel blockers may be more effective for people of African descent than other blood pressure medications.

They also are used for treating:

Calcium channel blockers are also used in the prevention of migraine headaches.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/19/2016

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