Calcium Channel Blocker Uses
Although calcium channel blockers are approved for treating high blood pressure, certain irregular heart rhythms, and chest pain, they can also be used "off-label" to treat several conditions. Some of the off-label calcium channel blocker uses can include treating migraine headaches, preterm labor, and congestive heart failure. The only calcium channel blocker approved for use in children is Norvasc (for treating high blood pressure in children as young as six years old).
Calcium Channel Blocker Uses: An OverviewCalcium channel blockers, also known as calcium channel antagonists, are medications used to treat several conditions of the heart and blood vessels. Specific uses of calcium channel blockers include:
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Certain irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias), including atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, and paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (PSVT)
- Chest pain (angina).
Not all calcium channel blockers are approved for treating all of the above conditions.
A blood pressure reading consists of two numbers -- for example, 120/80. The top number is known as the systolic blood pressure, and the bottom number is the diastolic blood pressure. High blood pressure is defined as an average blood pressure higher than 140/90, with multiple blood pressure readings.
Based on clinical studies, calcium channel blockers have been shown to significantly lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure. By lowering blood pressure, calcium channel blockers can decrease the risk of developing health problems, such as a stroke, heart disease, or congestive heart failure, which can occur with long-term high blood pressure (see Effects of High Blood Pressure). However, calcium channel blockers are not a cure for high blood pressure.
Most (but not all) calcium channel blockers are approved to treat high blood pressure.