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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 61

of 'Pathophysiology and etiology of edema in adults'

Side effects of calcium channel blockers.
Russell RP
Hypertension. 1988;11(3 Pt 2):II42.
Calcium channel blocking drugs are a chemically heterogenous group, so it might be expected that their effects on vascular smooth muscle, cardiac contractility, and conduction tissue may differ. However, the majority of adverse reactions are predictable from their pharmacological actions and may be conveniently grouped in the following categories: 1) vasodilatation, 2) negative inotropic effects, 3) conduction disturbances, 4) gastrointestinal effects, 5) metabolic effects, and 6) drug interactions. Vasodilatory symptoms, namely, dizziness, headaches, flushing sensation, and palpitation, are more likely with nifedipine. Peripheral edema is also common with nifedipine, but the mechanism is uncertain. For a given degree of vasodilation, the greatest negative inotropic effect is seen with verapamil first, diltiazem second, and nifedipine last. Calcium channel blocking drugs are contraindicated in hypertensive patients with second and third degree heart block, sick sinus syndrome, and severe heart failure. Verapamil and diltiazem have a significant effect on cardiac conduction, whereas nifedipine, in therapeutic doses, does not. Local gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea and constipation, are common with verapamil. None of the calcium channel blocking drugs have been reported to adversely affect lipid or protein metabolism. However, nifedipine, verapamil, and diltiazem in high doses may inhibit liberation of insulin. The significance of this finding needs to be explored further in hypertensive diabetics. Serum digoxin levels have been shown to increase after administration of verapamil and nifedipine, but there is no evidence that this change has any clinical relevance.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
Renal Division, Good Samaritan Hospital, Baltimore, MD 21239.