Calcium channel blockers are prescription medications that relax blood vessels and increase the supply of blood and oxygen to the heart while also reducing the heart's workload. Examples of calcium channel blockers include:
Angina -- Discomfort, pain, or pressure in the chest caused by an inadequate blood supply to the heart. Pain may also be felt in the neck, jaw, or arms.
Angiogram (cardiac catheterization) -- A test used to diagnose heart disease. During the procedure a catheter is inserted into an artery, usually in the leg, and contrast dye is injected into the arteries and heart. X-rays of the arteries and heart are taken.
Anticoagulant -- A medication that prevents blood from clotting; used for...
Calcium channel blockers should be taken with food or milk. Follow the label directions on how often to take it. The number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and how long you need to take it will depend on the type of medication prescribed and on your condition.
While taking this medication, have your blood pressure checked regularly, as advised by your doctor.
While taking this medication, your doctor may tell you to take and record your pulse daily. Your doctor will tell you how rapid your pulse should be. If your pulse is slower than advised, contact your doctor or nurse about taking your calcium channel blocker that day.
What Are the Side Effects of Calcium Channel Blockers?
Side effects of calcium channel blockers can include:
Low blood pressure
Slower heart rate
Swelling of feet ankles and legs
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
Tenderness or bleeding of the gums.
Let your doctor know if these side effects are persistent or severe. Contact your doctor right away if you are experiencing:
Breathing difficulties (shortness of breath, coughing, or wheezing):
Skin rash or hives
Severe lightheadedness or fainting
Do Calcium Channel Blockers Have Food and Drug Interactions?
Do not eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice while taking a calcium channel blocker.
Avoid alcohol, as it interferes with the effects of calcium channel blockers and increases the side effects.
It is important that your doctor is aware of all the medications you are taking, as some may have the potential to interact with calcium channel blockers. Talk to your doctor before taking any new medication, including over-the-counter drugs, herbs, and supplements.