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Doctors' Answers to "Frequently Asked Questions" - Calcium Channel Blockers

These comments are made for the purpose of discussion and should NOT be used as recommendations for or against therapies or other treatments. An individual patient is always advised to consult their own physician.

Calcium Channel Blockers
Question:What is the risk of mortality with calcium channel blockers?

Answer: There has been a lot of publicity recently concerning the risk of mortality with calcium blockers. This was initiated after a presentation of data which compared relative mortality of beta-blockers and calcium blockers. This scientific study was seized upon by the press and appeared on nearly every front page in the country. However, the study which I mentioned does not come to definite conclusions. Rather, it is the type of study which prompts others studies to see if some of the data is true and accurate. These studies are still in progress. However, review by the Food and Drug Administration has recently stated that there appears to be no excess risk with calcium channel blockers-with one exception. Nifedipine(brand name procardia) in the short acting dose has been seen to cause problems in some individuals. As a result, this drug is rarely used. Curiously, the long acting or slow release form of the drug does not appear to have these same problems. I know of no physician who has altered their drug usage based on this initial study -with the exception of short acting nifedipine. This may change as more data becomes available.
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