Calcium channel blockers block the small pores in cells that allow calcium to move in and out and widen blood vessels. It's not clear exactly how the drugs work, but they are used to lower blood pressure, improve irregular heartbeats, and treat migraines. They may also help stabilize moods.
Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder with distinct periods of extreme euphoria and energy (mania) and sadness or hopelessness (depression). It's also known as manic depression or manic depressive disorder.
Bipolar disorder occurs with similar frequency in men and women. But there are some differences between the sexes in the way the condition is experienced.
For example, a woman is likely to have more symptoms of depression than mania. And female hormones and reproductive factors may influence...
Sometimes, a headache can develop after taking certain calcium channel blockers. These headaches should gradually disappear once you have been taking the medication for a while. Talk to your doctor if headaches continue. Some people also report tenderness, swelling, or bleeding of the gums when starting to take calcium channel blockers. Regular brushing, flossing, and gum massages along with routine dental visits can help lessen this effect. As with any medication, it is important to see your doctor regularly to make sure the drug is working properly.
Calcium channel blockers tend to cause fewer serious side effects than some other drugs used to treat bipolar disorder. However, they are not as well studied and may not be effective.
Common calcium channel blocker side effects include:
WebMD Medical Reference: "Bipolar Disorder (Manic Depressive Disorder)."
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National Institute for Mental Health: "Step-BD Womens Studies."
Massachusetts General Hospital Bipolar Clinic & Research Program.
MedicineNet.com: "Bipolar Disorder (Mania)."
WebMD Medical Reference: "Effects of Untreated Depression."
American Psychiatric Association: "Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Patients With Bipolar Disorder."
Joseph Goldberg, MD on October 27, 2014