Calcium Channel Blockers (CCBs) (cont.)

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What are the side effects of calcium channel blockers?

  • The most common side effects of CCBs are constipation, nausea, headache, rash, edema (swelling of the legs and feet with fluid), low blood pressure, drowsiness, and dizziness.
  • Liver dysfunction and over growth of gums may also occur. 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, CCBs are associated with sexual dysfunction.

With which drugs do calcium channel blockers interact?

Most of the interactions of CCBs occur with verapamil (Calan, Isoptin) or diltiazem (Cardizem). The interaction occurs because verapamil and diltiazem decrease the elimination of a number of drugs by the liver. Through this mechanism, verapamil and diltiazem may reduce the elimination and increase the blood levels of carbamazepine (Tegretol), simvastatin (Zocor), atorvastatin (Lipitor), and lovastatin (Mevacor). This can lead to toxicity from these drugs.

Grapefruit juice (approximately 200 ml) may elevate serum concentrations of felodipine (Plendil), verapamil (Calan, Isoptin), nisoldipine (Sular), nifedipine (Adalat, Procardia), nicardipine (Cardene), and possibly amlodipine (Norvasc). Grapefruit juice should not be consumed within 2 hours before or 4 hours after administration of affected CCBs.

What calcium channel blockers are available?

The CCBS that have been approved for use in the US include:

Reference: FDA Prescribing Information


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/11/2014


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