Why do calcium channel blockers work

The drug group of calcium channel blockers includes active ingredients with which stable angina pectoris and, under certain conditions, coronary artery disease can be treated. They also lower high blood pressure.

What are calcium channel blockers?

Another name for calcium channel blockers is calcium channel blockers. This describes that these substances block the effect of calcium on those muscle cells whose activity cannot be controlled voluntarily. Such muscle cells can be found in the blood vessels, among other things. If calcium gets into the muscle cells, they contract. As a result, the blood vessel narrows. If this influx of calcium is prevented, the blood vessels are relatively widened.

Which calcium channel blockers are there?

The large group of calcium channel blockers is divided into two subgroups. Of the calcium antagonists of the verapamil type, diltiazem, gallopamil and verapamil are currently prescribed most in Germany. These drugs are similar in their effects. The others are grouped together as calcium channel blockers of the nifedipine type. They include amlodipine, nicardipine, nifedipine, and nisoldipine. Their mechanism of action differs a little.

How do calcium channel blockers work?

All calcium channel blockers lower blood pressure. On the other hand, some accelerate the heartbeat, while others slow it down.

In angina pectoris, calcium antagonists work in particular by expanding the coronary arteries and reducing the workload on the heart. As a result, the heart needs less oxygen and the chest pain and shortness of breath decrease.

What are the benefits of calcium channel blockers?

The symptoms that can occur with coronary heart disease and stable angina pectoris improve calcium channel blockers just as well as beta blockers - provided that long-acting calcium channel blockers are used or the short-acting substances have a long-lasting effect due to the way they are manufactured.

It is different when it comes to complications from coronary artery disease and premature death from heart attacks. Beta blockers have been shown to help prevent these events in people with coronary artery disease. For calcium antagonists, however, this evidence has not yet been scientifically proven. Therefore, the program for the treatment of coronary artery disease provides calcium channel blockers only as a secondary option - either as an add-on to or in place of treatment with beta-blockers, if someone is not allowed to be treated with beta-blockers, for example because they have asthma or a certain type of cardiac arrhythmia ( Higher degree atrioventricular block).

Who shouldn't take calcium channel blockers?

People with heart failure should not take calcium channel blockers, as these drugs can also weaken the strength of the heart.

Verapamil-type drugs are no longer an option if there has already been a heart attack and if there are arrhythmias that can cause the heart to beat too slowly.

Nifedipine-type drugs should be avoided by people who have had a heart attack in the past month and who have unstable angina pectoris. Even with severely impaired liver and kidney function, these drugs must not be used.

What are the most common adverse effects?

Especially at the beginning of the treatment, a relatively large number of people register headaches and warmth rising to the face. During this time, more angina pectoris attacks can occur or existing angina pectoris can get worse.

Some substances cause palpitations and palpitations. In others, the heartbeat slows down significantly.

More water can accumulate in the tissues of the feet and lower legs (edema).