Calcium-Channel Blockers For Hypertension

All hypertensive patients who are undergoing an anti-hypertensive treatment agree on one goal – and that is to lower their high blood pressure. One of the controversial medications is the calcium-channel blockers.

Calcium-channel blockers, or sometimes referred to as calcium blockers, have been around lately in the field of anti-hypertensive drugs. Debates recently have stirred the efficiency of this product due to risk reasons. But just how effective really are calcium-channel blockers?

This drug takes its name from its working effect of soothing the blood vessels muscles and reducing the pumping power of the heart. These results in continuous and no restricted flow of blood thereby lowering the blood pressure. Some forms of calcium-channel blockers like diltiazem and verapamil are examples of these drugs that slow the rate of the heart.

Calcium-channel blockers can be used as a stand alone treatment or in combination with other anti-hypertensive agents like diuretics. Calcium-channel blockers work very well with African American hypertension patients, elder patients, and people who have hard time decreasing their sodium consumption. Patients with angina or a severe inflammatory or ulcerated condition of the mouth or throat may also find calcium blockers to be beneficial. These drugs also improve condition of people with coronary artery disease.

Potential side effects are triggered by calcium-channel blockers and among these are:

* Slow heart rate

* Constipation

Advances in medicine and recent studies however challenge the potency of calcium-channel blockers as relief medication to hypertension. Its popularity among the other drugs and its apparently low number of side effects did not escape calcium blockers from these controversies.

In the United States, it is estimated that about six million Americans dose with calcium blockers as medication. Scientists came up recently with articles stating that these drugs are indicative of higher risks towards heart attack. It even worsens angina and develops irregular heartbeat or arrhythmias according to the article. These claims were supported by a publication in 1995 called the Top Ten Medical Advances.

Studies printed in the Journal of the American Medical Association and in Circulation say that not all of the calcium-channel blockers available commercially are alike. Furthermore, it said that this agent contains what is called nifedipine which turned out to be risking factor of most heart attack cases.

The effect of nifedipine is unfavorable. Instead of reversing the rise of blood pressure, it may even promote hypertension. This is so, according to scientists, because calcium-channel blockers’ ability to reduce blood pressure may cause sudden impact to body. In this state, the body overreacts and heightens the production of adrenaline which ultimately results in heart rate speeding up.

These speculations however remain to be proven. The absence of evidence that hook the dreadful effects of nifedipine and calcium-channel blockers and the limitation of nifedipine presence have led manufacturers to come up with an updated formulation of these drugs that are tagged as longer-acting and gentler agents.