Blood Pressure Home > Calcium Channel Blockers

When and How Do I Take Them?

Some general considerations for when and how to take calcium channel blocker medications include:
  • They are taken by mouth, usually one to four times per day, depending on the specific calcium channel blocker used and the condition being treated.
  • Some calcium channel blockers should be taken with food, while others should be taken on an empty stomach. Be sure you know exactly how to take your specific calcium channel blocker.
  • Many of them should not be taken with grapefruit juice. Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider before drinking grapefruit juice while taking a calcium channel blocker.
  • For calcium channel blockers to work properly, they must be taken as prescribed. Your calcium channel blocker will not work if you stop taking it.


The dosage that your healthcare provider recommends will vary depending on a number of factors, including:
  • The specific type of calcium channel blocker
  • The medical condition being treated
  • Other medical conditions you may have
  • Other medications you may currently be taking.
As is always the case, do not adjust your calcium channel blocker dose unless your healthcare provider specifically instructs you to do so.

Side Effects of Calcium Channel Blockers

(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with calcium channel blockers. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list of side effects with you. You can also read about specific side effects for each type of calcium channel blocker by going to the specific drug within the eMedTV Web site.)
As with any medicine, there are possible side effects with calcium channel blockers. However, not everyone who takes the medication will experience side effects. In fact, most people tolerate it well. When side effects do occur, in most cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or can easily be treated by you or your healthcare provider. Serious side effects are less common.
The most common side effects of calcium channel blockers include:
  • Abdominal pain (stomach pain)
  • Constipation
  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Feelings of a rapidly or forcefully beating heart (palpitations)
  • Flushing or hot flashes
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • A sore throat
  • Swelling or water retention in the hands, feet, or lower legs.
(Click Calcium Channel Blocker Side Effects to learn about the specific side effects of calcium channel blockers, including some of the more serious side effects that you should report to your healthcare provider.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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