Calcium channel blockers for heart failure
|Generic Name||Brand Name|
|diltiazem||Cardizem, Dilacor XR, Taztia, Tiazac|
|verapamil||Calan SR, Verelan|
How It Works
Calcium channel blockers slow your heart rate and lower your blood pressure.
Calcium channel blockers slow your heart rate by blocking the number of electrical impulses that cause the heart muscle to contract and pump blood.
Calcium channel blockers help lower your blood pressure by relaxing the muscle tissue in your blood vessels. This makes it easier for blood to flow through the vessels.
Why It Is Used
Calcium channel blockers may be used to treat diastolic heart failure. Diastolic heart failure happens when your heart has a hard time filling with blood.
Calcium channel blockers may help your heart fill with blood more easily by slowing your heart rate and lowering your blood pressure. When your heart beats more slowly, it has more time to fill between each heartbeat. Calcium channel blockers may also help your heart muscle to relax, which can help your heart fill with blood. Lower blood pressure may help treat diastolic heart failure because your heart does not have to work as hard to pump blood.
Calcium channel blockers usually are not used for systolic heart failure, in which the heart has a hard time pumping out blood.
How Well It Works
Calcium channel blockers may help relieve symptoms of diastolic heart failure by slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure so the heart fills with blood more easily. Calcium channel blockers may relieve symptoms of diastolic heart failure because they also help treat other heart problems like high blood pressure and angina.
Side effects vary, depending on the calcium channel blocker. But side effects may include:
- Flushing or skin rash.
- Headache or a pounding sensation in the head.
- Swelling in legs, ankles, or feet.
- Lower blood pressure and progressive heart failure.
- Tingling sensations in the arms or legs.
Call your doctor right away if you have swelling in your ankles, feet, or legs.
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
Calcium channel blockers are not one of the first medicines that you take for heart failure. They usually are used in addition to other medicines.
If you gain weight or have more shortness of breath, tell your doctor right away. These symptoms could mean that your heart failure is getting worse.
Tell your doctor if you have kidney or liver disease.
If your feet or ankles are swollen, ask your doctor what you can do to relieve the swelling.
If you have had a heart attack, talk to your doctor. Some calcium channel blockers, such as verapamil or diltiazem, may not be good choices for you.
Certain calcium channel blockers can sometimes be used to lower blood pressure in people with systolic heart failure. Examples include amlodipine, felodipine, and nisoldipine. But sometimes calcium channel blockers can make systolic heart failure worse because they make it harder for your heart to pump blood. Your doctor will watch you carefully if you take a calcium channel blocker for systolic heart failure.