Calcium channel blockers (CCBs) are a class of drugs that cause vasodilation, and are mainly used to treat high blood pressure and angina pectoris. CCBs block calcium flow into the smooth muscle cells of your blood vessels, resulting in vasodilation and reduced blood pressure. They also work on cardiac muscle cells to reduce contractility and abnormally increased heart rate.
CCBs are grouped into two main types; dihydropyridines and non-dihydropyridines. Dihydropyridines mainly cause vasodilation and so are used to treat hypertension and angina. Examples of dihydropyridines include amlodipine, nicardipine, and nifedipine). The non-dihydropyridines target the heart muscle cells and decrease the heart rate and contractility. They are usually used to treat tachyarrhythmias, but also angina, because by reducing the heart rate and contractility, they bring down cardiac demand. Examples of non-dihydropyridines include diltiazem and verapamil. CCBs are typically well-tolerated, but they can cause certain side effects, such as dizziness, lightheadedness, and swelling of the ankles or legs.
- "Katzung & Trevor's Pharmacology Examination and Board Review,12th Edition" McGraw-Hill Education / Medical (2018)
- "Rang and Dale's Pharmacology" Elsevier (2019)
- "Goodman and Gilman's The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics, 13th Edition" McGraw-Hill Education / Medical (2017)
- "Hurst's the Heart, 14th Edition: Two Volume Set" McGraw-Hill Education / Medical (2017)
- "Amlodipine: an overview of its pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic properties" Clin Cardiol (1994)
- "Calcium Channel Blockers" The Journal of Clinical Hypertension (2011)
- "Calcium channel blockers for primary and secondary Raynaud's phenomenon" Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (2017)