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Lancet. 2000 Dec 9;356(9246):1949-54.

Health outcomes associated with calcium antagonists compared with other first-line antihypertensive therapies: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials.

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  • 1Sticht Center on Aging, Department of Internal Medicine, Wake Forest University, Winston Salem, NC 27157, USA.



Several observational studies and individual randomised trials in hypertension have suggested that, compared with other drugs, calcium antagonists may be associated with a higher risk of coronary events, despite similar blood-pressure control. The aim of this meta-analysis was to compare the effects of calcium antagonists and other antihypertensive drugs on major cardiovascular events.


We undertook a meta-analysis of trials in hypertension that assessed cardiovascular events and included at least 100 patients, who were randomly assigned intermediate-acting or long-acting calcium antagonists or other antihypertensive drugs and who were followed up for at least 2 years.


The nine eligible trials included 27,743 participants. Calcium antagonists and other drugs achieved similar control of both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Compared with patients assigned diuretics, beta-blockers, angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitors, or clonidine (n=15,044), those assigned calcium antagonists (n=12,699) had a significantly higher risk of acute myocardial infarction (odds ratio 1.26 [95% CI 1.11-1.43], p=0.0003), congestive heart failure (1.25 [1.07-1.46], p=0.005), and major cardiovascular events (1.10 [1.02-1.18], p=0.018). The treatment differences were within the play of chance for the outcomes of stroke (0.90 [0.80-1.02], p=0.10) and all-cause mortality (1.03 [0.94-1.13], p=0.54).


In randomised controlled trials, the large available database suggests that calcium antagonists are inferior to other types of antihypertensive drugs as first-line agents in reducing the risks of several major complications of hypertension. On the basis of these data, the longer-acting calcium antagonists cannot be recommended as first-line therapy for hypertension.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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