Calcium Channel Blockers And Their Side Effects
Calcium channel blockers (CCB) are a class of drugs, which, as its name suggests, block the movement of calcium through its channels. In other words, CCB drugs prevent the entry of calcium to smooth muscles cells, especially the ones present in the blood vessels and heart muscles. This effect results in vasodilatation, leading to a reduced blood pressure.
For this reason, calcium channel blockers are widely used in patients with hypertension, registering a high degree of efficacity in elderly patients. Calcium channel blockers are also used to modify heart rate for the prevention of cerebral vasospasm and to diminish the chest pain caused by angina pectoris, especially in elderly patients. CCB drugs can also be used for pulmonary hypertension, Raynaud’s syndrome and even for the prevention of migraines.
Although CCB drugs are really effective for hypertension and the prevention of heart problems, there is quite an array of calcium channel blockers side effects.
However, before I go ahead and put into view the majority of calcium channel blockers side effects, there’s one more important thing to add. This regards the terminology of the CCB class of drugs. Most of them can be recognized after their suffix “-dipine”. Alphabetically ordered, they are: amlodipine, aranidipine, azelnidipine, barnidipine, benidipine, cilnidipine, clevidipine, isradipine, efonidipine, felodipine, lacidipine, lercanidipine, manidipine, nicardipine, nifedipine, nilvadipine, nimodipine, nisoldipine, nitrendipine, pranidipine. CCB drugs that are not in the dihydropyridine group (making an exception from the “-dipine” suffix) are: diltiazem, verapamil.
Calcium channel blockers side effects range from mild to severe. Some of the mild calcium channel blockers side effects are problems of gastrointestinal nature like constipation, heartburn and nausea. Gastroesophageal reflux disorders can also occur. Another specific side effect related to the treatment with CCB drugs is the swelling and/or bleeding of the gums. Other mild CCB side effects could be a general state of tiredness, dizziness, leg and ankle edema, hot flushes and skin redness.
Low blood pressure and slow heart rate can also be considered calcium channel blockers side effects, however, in many cases, these are intended effects for treatment with drugs from this class.
Among the severe side effects that may occur due to medication with CCB drugs are liver dysfunction and breathing difficulties, which may lead to asphyxia. And of course, some patients may develop allergic reactions to drugs in this class, which can range from mild skin rashes to anaphylaxis.
Last but not least, to avoid some of the calcium channel blockers side effects, it’s important not to pair them with drugs from the statins class. Ask your physician about any possible interaction with any herbal teas or other naturist treatments. Also, grapefruit juice and alcohol can interact with these drugs causing detrimental side effects.