2. Types of Calcium Channel Blockers

Pharmacologists sometimes refer to calcium channel blockers as calcium antagonists. They divide CCBs into three classes: dihydropyridines, benzothiazepines, and phenylalkylamines.

  • Dihydropyridines are L-type calcium channel blockers. Doctors prescribe them to reduce vascular resistance and arterial pressure, which makes them an effective treatment for hypertension. Dihydropyridines may cause tachycardia or rapid heart rate in patients with angina.
  • Benzothiazepines work on both the arteries and the heart muscle. They effectively reduce arterial pressure but produce a lower level of cardiac stimulation than dihydropyridines.
  • Physicians prescribe phenylalkylamines to treat angina because they cause less tachycardia. This type of CCB reduces the amount of oxygen the heart muscle needs. Additionally, phenylalkylamines reverse coronary vasospasm, which causes constriction of the coronary artery and stroke-like symptoms.
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