Calcium antagonists

The first-generation calcium antagonists nifedipine, verapamil, and diltiazem have negative inotropic properties, in decreasing order of severity, rendering these drugs less suitable for patients with (borderline) heart failure or for combination therapy with b-blockers. Verapamil and, to a lesser extent, diltiazem are also used to control the ventricular rate during atrial fibrillation or other supraventricular arrhythmias. Preferably, they should not be combined with digitalis. The second-generation drugs, which include isradipine, nicardipine, and nimodipine, have fewer side-effects. These drugs have powerful vasodilating properties and lack significant effects on cardiac conduction and contractility.

These compounds are commonly used in the ICU for control of arterial blood pressure and vasospasm. Intravenous forms can be used to control arterial blood pressure and to unload the left heart during accelerated arterial hypertension. Oral and intravenous nimodipine can be used to prevent cerebral vasospasm during subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Blood Pressure Health

Blood Pressure Health

Your heart pumps blood throughout your body using a network of tubing called arteries and capillaries which return the blood back to your heart via your veins. Blood pressure is the force of the blood pushing against the walls of your arteries as your heart beats.Learn more...

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