Calcium Antagonists

  • Franz H. Messerli
  • Jayant Dey
  • Zhanbin Feng
Part of the Current Clinical Practice book series (CCP)


Calcium antagonists have been available for study and clinical use since the 1960s. As a class of antihypertensive agents, they are the most heterogeneous in their chemical structure, modes of action, and clinical indications. However, they all share a common physiologic action: decreasing the intracellular availability of calcium ions in cardiac and vascular smooth muscle cells, thereby directly inhibiting their contractility. At least four different receptors, with varying affinities to calcium antagonists, regulate calcium ion movement across the cell membrane (1). In addition, some of the diversity of this class of drugs may be explained by the difference in intracellular calcium ion release from the sarcoplasmic reticulum and the mitochondria as well as binding to specific intracellular proteins (e.g., calmodulin)
Table 1

Calcium Antagonists Approved for Treatment of Hypertension in the United States a



PO dose for SR

Amlodipine (Norvasc)


2.5–10mg QD

Diltiazem (Cardizem CD, Dilacor XR, etc.)


180–480mg QD (CD)

Felodipine (Plendil)


2.5–10mg QD

Isradipine (Dynacirc)


2.5–10mg QD

Nicardipine (Cardene SR)


30–60mg BID (SR)

Nifedipine (Procardia XL, Adalat CC)


30–120mg QD

Nisoldipine (Sular)


20–40mg QD

Verapamil (Isoptin SR, Calan SR, etc.)


120–480mg QD)


Calcium Antagonist Systolic Hypertension Dihydropyridine Calcium Antagonist Calcium Antago Blood Pressure Education Program Working 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Franz H. Messerli
  • Jayant Dey
  • Zhanbin Feng

There are no affiliations available

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