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Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2001 Dec;52(6):687-92.

Contrasting effects of verapamil and amlodipine on cardiovascular stress responses in hypertension.

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  • 1University Hospital of Groningen, Department of Internal Medicine, Groningen, The Netherlands. JDLEF@KNMG.NL



To compare the effects of two long-acting calcium antagonists of different types on cardiovascular stress responses in hypertension.


One-hundred and forty-five patients with mild to moderate hypertension and a mean (+/- s.e.mean) age of 51 +/- 0.9 years received for 8 weeks the phenylalkylamine verapamil sustained release (240 mg) and the dihydropyridine amlodipine (5 mg) in a double-blind cross-over design, both after 4 weeks of placebo. Blood pressure, heart rate and plasma noradrenaline were monitored during 3 min of sustained isometric handgrip and 2 min of cold pressor.


Blood pressure was equally reduced by both drugs. After 3 min handgrip, systolic blood pressure, heart rate and rate-pressure product were lower with verapamil compared with amlodipine. Verapamil attenuated the increases in systolic blood pressure (25 +/- 2 vs 30 +/- 2 mmHg, difference 4.6, 95% CI (1.0, 8.1), P < 0.01) and rate-pressure product (3.1 +/- 0.2 vs 3.6 +/- 0.3 x 10(3) mmHg x beats min(-1), difference 0.5, 95% CI (0.1, 0.9), P < 0.01) during handgrip compared with amlodipine. Similar results were observed during cold pressor. Plasma noradrenaline levels were lower with verapamil compared with amlodipine at rest and after both tests, but the increases in plasma noradrenaline were not significantly different.


Verapamil is more effective in reducing blood pressure and rate-pressure product responses to stress compared with amlodipine. Although plasma noradrenaline is lower with verapamil at rest and after stress, the increase during stress is not different.

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