Calcium Channel Blockers: Meds used to control High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is a serious illness. This is particularly the case for Black Americans since over forty percent of Black Americans have high blood pressure1 according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

High blood pressure2 is often called a “silent killer” because many people have it but do not know it. Some people do not feel sick at first. Over time, individuals who do not get treated for high blood pressure can get very ill or even die.

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High blood pressure can cause:

  • kidney failure
  • stroke
  • blindness and
  • heart attacks.

There is good news.

There are life-saving medicines people can take every day to help control their high blood pressure. Individuals who eat healthy foods, exercise, and take their medicines every day can control their blood pressure.

Take your blood pressure medicines

It is important to take your blood pressure medicines every day. Take your medicines even when your blood pressure comes down … even when you do not feel sick. Do not stop taking your medicine until your doctor says that it is OK.

Most people who take high blood pressure medicines do not get any side effects. Like all medicines, high blood pressure medicines can sometimes cause side effects. Some people have common problems like headaches, dizziness or an upset stomach. These problems are small compared to what could happen if you do not take your medicine.

Calcium Channel Blockers: Meds used to control High Blood Pressure

45.7% of Black American Women have high blood pressure according to the CDC.

Understanding your blood pressure — What do the numbers mean?

When you have your blood pressure taken, you are told two numbers, like 120/80. Both numbers are important.

The first number is your pressure when your heart beats (systolic pressure).

The second number is your pressure when your heart relaxes (diastolic pressure).

Treatment of High Blood Pressure

If you are an African-American with high blood pressure, The American Medical Association’s Eighth Joint National Committee has put out its recommendations for the different types of medications that you can use as a guide to getting it under control. Please read the Jay Harold article on the New African-American High Blood Pressure Guidelines to more about recommended medications for Black Americans. Below is a compiled list3 of their recommendations for Calcium Channel Blockers4 (CCB’s).

Calcium Channel Blockers lowers blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels, so the heart does not have to pump as hard. Some Calcium Channel Blockers control chest pain by increasing the supply of blood to the heart. This is not a complete list of medications!

Calcium Channel Blockers (Brand Names are in Bold)

Brand Name Generic Name
Norvasc Amlodipine
Cleviprex Clevidipine
Cardizem Diltiazem
Dilacor XR Diltiazem
Tiazac Diltiazem
Plendil Felodipine
DynaCirc CR Isradipine
Cardene Nicardipine
Adalat CC Nifedipine
Procardia Nifedipine
 No brand Nimodipine
Sular Nisoldipine
Calan Verapamil
Covera HS Verapamil
Isoptin Verapamil
Verelan Verapamil

Calcium Channel Blockers: What You Should Know


  • Do not use calcium channel blockers if you have a heart condition or if you are taking nitrates, quinidine, or fentanyl.
  • People who have liver or kidney problems should talk to their doctor about the specific risks of using any Calcium Channel Blocker.
  • Women who are pregnant or nursing should talk to their doctor before they start using these drugs.

Common Side Effects

Calcium Channel Blockers: Meds used to control High Blood Pressure

Calcium channel blockers side effects include chest pain and fainting.

  • Feeling drowsy
  • Headache
  • Upset stomach
  • Ankle swelling
  • Feeling flushed (warm)

Warning Signs

Call your doctor if you have any of these signs:

  • Chest pain
  • Severe rashes
  • Swelling of the face, eyes, lips, tongue, arms, or legs
  • Fainting
  • Irregular heartbeat

For more information about the risks and side effects for each drug, check Drugs@FDA.

Calcium channel blockers play a major role in controlling many diseases that affect African-Americans. Calcium channel blockers are a preferred choice for hypertension according to the new JNC (Joint National Committee) 8 guidelines. Jay Harold has a post that addresses high blood pressure in African-Americans.

Jay Harold knows the potential problems with Calcium channel blockers (CCB’s) since he has taken them for years. Working with your doctor to find the best CCB’s for you is important to minimize side effects. Learn more about side effects by reading an article from Jay Harold on this topic. You have a responsibility to yourself and your family to maintain good health.  Do everything you can to achieve this goal.

Enjoyed this post? Share it and read more here.  Questions?  “Ask the Pharmacist a Question!” Jay Harold is always looking out for your health and wealth.

Please take this advice of  Muhammad Ali and give back to others. “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” ~ Muhammad Ali



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