- High Blood Pressure Slideshow Pictures
- Take the Salt Quiz!
- Lowering Blood Pressure Exercise Tips Pictures
Calcium channel blockers (CCBs)
Calcium is needed by all muscle cells, including those of the heart and muscles and surrounding arteries, in order for the cells to contract. CCBs inhibit the movement of calcium into muscle cells. The reduction in calcium reduces the force of the heart's muscular pumping action (cardiac contraction) and thereby reduces blood pressure. These medications also relax the muscle cells surrounding the arteries to further reduce blood pressure. Three major types of calcium channel blockers are available. One type is the dihydropyridines, which do not slow the heart rate or cause other abnormal heart rates or rhythms (cardiac arrhythmias). They are commonly used for treating high blood pressure and are very effective in reducing blood pressure in African Americans.
Common side effects of CCBs
- Water retention in the arm and legs (peripheral edema)
- Shortness of breath
This list is not does not include all side effects or adverse events for CCBs.This class of medicine also are used for other health conditions, for example:
- Migraine headache prevention
- Chest pain (angina)
- Abnormal heart beats
- Essential tremor
- Hypertrophic subaortic stenosis
- Portal hypertension
Examples of brand and generic names available for CCBs
- amlodipine (Norvasc)
- amlodipine and atorvastatin (Caduet)
- amlodipine and benazepril (Lotrel)
- amlodipine and valsartan (Exforge)
- amlodipine and telmisartan (Twynsta)
- amlodipine and olmesartan (Azor)
- amlodipine and olmesartan and hydrochlorothiazide (Tribenzor)
- amlodipine and aliskiren (Tekamlo has been discontinued in the US)
- amlodipine and aliskiren and hydrochlorothiazide (Amturnide has been discontinued in the US)
- amlodipine and perindopril (Prestalia)
- clevidipine (Cleviprex)
- diltiazem (Cardizem)
- felodipine (Plendil has been discontinued in the US)
- isradipine (Dynacirc has been discontinued in the US)
- nifedipine (Procardia, Procardia XL, Adalat CC, Afeditab)
- nicardipine (Cardene, Cardene SR)
- nimodipine (Nimotop has been discontinued in the US)
- nisoldipine (Sular)
- verapamil (Calan)
The other two types of CCBs are referred to as the non-dihydropyridine agents. One type is verapamil (Calan, Covera, Isoptin, Verelan) and the other is diltiazem (Cardizem, Tiazac, Dilacor, and Diltia).
Diuretics are among the oldest known medications for treating high blood pressure. They work in the tiny tubes (tubules) of the kidneys to promote the removal of salt from the body. Water (fluid) also is removed along with the salt; however, the exact mechanism whereby diuretics lower blood pressure is not clearly known. The leading theory is that they directly cause the muscles surrounding blood vessels to relax. Diuretics may be used alone for high blood pressure. More frequently, however, low doses of diuretics are used in combination with other medications for high blood pressure to enhance the effect of the other medications.
Common side effects of diruetics
- Low blood potassium
- Low blood pressure
- Increased blood glucose
- Increased level of uric acid
This list is not does not include all side effects or adverse events for diuretics.
This class of medicine also are used for other health conditions, for example:
Most commonly used diuretics to treat hypertension
- hydrochlorothiazide (Hydrodiuril)
- The loop diuretics furosemide (Lasix), bumetanide (Bumex), and torsemide (Demadex)
- The combination of triamterene and hydrochlorothiazide (Dyazide)
- metolazone (Zaroxolyn)
The thiazide drugs are related to sulfa drugs. For those individuals who are allergic to sulfa drugs, ethacrynic acid, a loop diuretic, is a good option. Diuretics probably should not be used in pregnant women.
Quick GuideHow to Lower Blood Pressure: Exercise Tips
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Need help identifying pills and medications?
Use the pill identifier tool on RxList.