The calcium blockers, which are also known as calcium antagonists, inhibit the transfer of calcium across the membrane into cardiac and blood vessel muscle cells. They are part of the third line treatments for hypertension.
How do calcium blockers work?
The calcium blockers last for an average of 24 hours, and block the entry of calcium into arterial muscle cells. They therefore produce arterial relaxation, and vessels then offer less resistance to the circulation of blood. This is what specialists call vasodilatation. Blood pressure falls. The calcium antagonists are also used in the management of angina or angina pectoris.
Do they have contraindications or precautions?
The side effects of these medicines are due to their vasodilating effects: lower limb oedema, headaches, redness of the face. These generally stop over a few weeks.
- Merck Manual – 4th edition
- Comité français de lutte contre l'hypertension artérielle, 9 June 2011
Calcium blockers reduce arterial blood pressure. © Phovoir
Calcium antagonist - 1 Photo