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What are calcium channel blockers and how do they work?name="what">
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?name="examples">
What calcium channel blockers are available?
The calcium channel blockers that have been approved for use in the US include:
- 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 hydroclorothiazide (Tribenzor)
- amlodipine and aliskiren and hydroclorothiazide
- amlodipine and perindopril (Prestalia)
- clevidipine (Cleviprex)
- diltiazem (Cardizem)
- felodipine (Cardene, Cardene SR)
- nisoldipine (Sular)
- verapamil (Calan)
Discontinued brands in the US:
Quick GuideHow to Lower Blood Pressure: Exercise Tips
What are the side effects of calcium channel blockers?name="side effects">
What are the side effects of calcium channel blockers?
The most common side effects of calcium channel blockers are:
- Edema (swelling of the legs and feet with fluid)
- Low blood pressure
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:
- hHigh blood pressure
- Abnormal heart rhythms (for example, atrial fibrillation, and paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia)
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.
Are there any differences among calcium channel blockers?name="differences">
Are there any differences among calcium channel blockers?
Calcium channel blockers differ in their duration of action, the process by which they are eliminated from the body, and, most importantly, in their ability to affect heart rate and contraction. Some calcium channel blockers (for example, amlodipine [Norvasc]) have very little effect on heart rate and contraction so they are safer to use in individuals who have heart failure or bradycardia (a slow heart rate). Verapamil (Calan, Isoptin) and diltiazem (Cardizem) have the greatest effects on the heart and reduce the strength and rate of contraction. Therefore, they are used in reducing heart rate when the heart is beating too fast.
With which drugs do calcium channel blockers interact?name="interact">
With which drugs do calcium channel blockers interact?
Most of the interactions of calcium channel blockers 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 blood 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 calcium channel blockers.
Reference: FDA Prescribing Information
Quick GuideHow to Lower Blood Pressure: Exercise Tips
Calcium channel blockers (CCBs) are a class of drugs that dilate the arteries, and are used for treating:
- High blood pressure
- Abnormally rapid heart rhythms
- Pulmonary hypertension
- Raynaud's syndrome
- Subarachnoid hemorrhage
CCBs may also be prescribed after a heart attack.
Examples of calcium channel blockers (CCBs) approved in the U. S. include:
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- Headaches FAQs
- High Blood Pressure FAQs
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- Atrial Fibrillation A-Fib FAQs
- Grapefruit Juice and Drug Interactions
- How To Reduce Your Medication Costs
- Pharmacy Visit, How To Get The Most Out of Your Visit
- Indications for Drugs: Approved vs. Non-approved
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Medications & Supplements
- Beta Blockers (Drug Class, List of Brand and Generic Names)
- ACE Inhibitors (Side Effects, List of Names, Uses, and Dosage)
- High Blood Pressure Drugs (Hypertension)
- amlodipine, Norvasc
- Drug Interactions
- nifedipine, Adalat (discontinued brand), Procardia, Afeditab, Nifediac
- diltiazem (Cardizem, Cardizem CD, Cardizem LA, Tiazac, Cartia XT, Diltzac, Dilt-CD, and several oth)
- amlodipine and valsartan (Exforge)
- felodipine (Plendil)
- amlodipine/atorvastatin - oral, Caduet
- Lotrel (amlodipine and benazepril)
- perindopril - oral, Aceon
- nimodipine - oral, Nymalize
- verapamil (Calan, Verelan, Verelan PM [Discontinued: Isoptin, Isoptin SR, Covera-HS])
- nicardipine, Cardene, Cardene SR
- nisoldipine, Sular
- isradipine - oral, Dynacirc
- bepridil (Vascor, Bepadin - Discontinued)
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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.
Top Calcium Channel Blockers Related ArticlesComplete List
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Atrial Fibrillation QuizLearn the causes, symptoms, and treatments of the common heart abnormality known as atrial fibrillation (A-fib).
Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) OverviewCongestive heart failure (CHF) refers to a condition in which the heart loses the ability to function properly. Heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, myocarditis, and cardiomyopathies are just a few potential causes of congestive heart failure. Signs and symptoms of congestive heart failure may include fatigue, breathlessness, palpitations, angina, and edema. Physical examination, patient history, blood tests, and imaging tests are used to diagnose congestive heart failure. Treatment of heart failure consists of lifestyle modification and taking medications to decrease fluid in the body and ease the strain on the heart. The prognosis of a patient with congestive heart failure depends on the stage of the heart failure and the overall condition of the individual.
Headaches QuizIf you're plagued with headaches, our Headaches Quiz may help you identify causes, triggers, symptoms, and treatments for headache pain caused by different types of headaches such as migraines, sinus, cluster, tension, or stress.
Heart Disease (Coronary Artery Disease)
Heart disease (coronary artery disease) occurs when plaque builds up in the coronary arteries, the vessels that supply blood to the heart. Heart disease can lead to heart attack. Risk factors for heart disease include:
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- Family history
Angina, shortness of breath, and sweating are just a few symptoms that may indicate a heart attack. Treatment of heart disease involves control of heart disease risk factors through lifestyle changes, medications, and/or stenting or bypass surgery. Heart disease can be prevented by controlling heart disease risk factors.
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Heart failure (congestive) is caused by many conditions including coronary artery disease, heart attack, cardiomyopathy, and conditions that overwork the heart. Symptoms of heart failure include
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- fluid and water retention,
- fatigue and weakness, and
- rapid or irregular heartbeats.
There are two types of congestive heart failure, systolic or left-sided heart failure; and diastolic or right-sided heart failure. Treatment, prognosis, and life-expectancy for a person with congestive heart failure depends upon the stage of the disease.
Illustrations of the HeartThe muscle that pumps blood received from veins into arteries throughout the body. See a picture of the Heart and learn more about the health topic.
High Blood Pressure HypertensionHigh blood pressure is defined as a pressure of 140/90 mmHg or higher in the arteries. Genetic factors, high salt intake, and increased arterial stiffness cause high blood pressure. Dizziness, headache, nausea, and shortness of breath are just a few symptoms of high blood pressure. Untreated high blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease, kidney disease, atherosclerosis, eye damage, stroke, and increased risk of aneurysms. High blood pressure can be managed with weight loss, lifestyle changes, and medication.
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- acute glomerulonephritis.
- bladder obstruction,
- prostate problems,
- tumors, or
- kidney stones.
Kidney StonesKidney stones are solid masses of crystalline material that form in the kidneys. Symptoms of kidney stones can include pain, nausea, vomiting, and even fever and chills. Kidney stones are diagnosed via CT scans and specialized X-rays. Treatment of kidney stones involves drinking lots of fluids and taking over-the-counter pain medications to medical intervention including prescription medications, lithotripsy, and sometimes even surgery.
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- Certain foods
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They are diagnosed by a doctor if the headache pattern fits established migraine headache criteria. Over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications are sometime used to treat acute migraines. To prevent or reduce the frequency and severity of them doctors recommend supplements and prescription medications, for example:
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Lifestyle modification helps in migraine management. Many people who suffer from migraines get relief from their condition by keeping a headache diary, identifying and avoiding triggers, and taking appropriate medication.
Migraines SlideshowWhat does a migraine feel like? Discover the difference between headaches and migraines. Learn to spot migraine symptoms early, how to identify your triggers, and get more information on migraine medications and treatments.
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- difficulty swallowing thin liquids,
- difficulty breathing,
- and drug reactions.
- damage to the recurrent laryngeal nerve,
- bleeding or hematoma,
- problems maintaining calcium levels in the blood,
- need for further and more aggressive surgery,
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