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J Periodontol. 1999 Jan;70(1):63-7.

Prevalence of gingival overgrowth induced by calcium channel blockers: a community-based study.

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Department of Restorative Dentistry, The Dental School, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, England, UK.



The prevalence of gingival overgrowth induced by chronic medication with calcium channel blockers is uncertain. Although there have been several studies examining this question, the results are conflicting, with previous estimates ranging from 20% to 83%. There have been only 2 studies examining the prevalence of overgrowth induced by diltiazem and amlodipine, with estimates of 74% and 3.3%, respectively.


The current study aimed to address the problems associated with these studies by examining a sample of patients taking one of 3 calcium channel blockers, who were drawn from a community-based population in northeastern England. Nine hundred eleven (911) subjects were recruited from general medical practices in the area. Of these, 442 were taking nifedipine, 181 amlodipine, and 186 diltiazem. In addition, 102 control subjects were examined. Drug and demographic data for each subject were recorded. The periodontal condition of all subjects was assessed including plaque index, papillary bleeding index, and a photograph of the anterior gingivae for subsequent analysis of overgrowth severity.


More than six percent (6.3%) of subjects taking nifedipine were seen to have significant overgrowth. This overgrowth was statistically greater than the amount of overgrowth seen in either of the other 2 drug groups or the control population. The prevalence of gingival overgrowth induced by amlodipine or diltiazem was not statistically significant when compared to the control group. The severity of overgrowth within the nifedipine group was found to be related to the amount of gingival inflammation and also to the gender of the subject, with males being 3 times as likely to develop overgrowth than females.


The prevalence of clinically significant overgrowth related to chronic medication with calcium channel blockers is low, i.e., 6.3% for nifedipine. Males are 3 times as likely as females to develop clinically significant overgrowth. The presence of gingival inflammation is an important cofactor for the expression of this effect.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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