Calcium channel blockers

This class of drug includes Verapamil, Diltiazem, Amlodipine, Lercanidipine, Felodipine and Nifedipine for example.

Mechanism of action

These drugs prevent the movement of calcium into muscle cells causing them to relax.  This results in widening of the arteries, hence their use in hypertension and angina. Some of these drugs also reduce the heart’s rate and contraction (Verapamil and Diltiazem).  These properties can be used to effect in angina and a number of arrhythmias.

Potential side-effects

Common side-effects include ankle swelling, nausea and dizziness. Verapamil and Diltiazem should be used with caution in individuals with cardiac failure.