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Arch Intern Med. 2001 May 14;161(9):1145-58.

Epidemiologic review of the calcium channel blocker drugs. An up-to-date perspective on the proposed hazards.

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MSc, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 717 Blockley Hall, 423 Guardian Dr, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6021, USA.


In the setting of soaring popularity, postmarketing studies of calcium channel blockers came to suggest an increase in a variety of major adverse end points. The evidence, however, was largely observational, and large-scale trials capable of addressing the concerns were wanting. Clinical trials now support the safety and efficacy of the long-acting dihydropyridines for patients with both uncomplicated and diabetic hypertension, although conventional therapies and, in the latter case, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors have superior proof of benefit. By contrast, short-acting dihydropyridines should be avoided. In the acute coronary syndromes, beta-blockers remain the treatment of choice; the evidence for nondihydropyridines remains inconclusive. Stable angina calls for beta-blockers as first-line therapy and nondihydropyridines as second-line therapy, whereas in ventricular dysfunction, safety data for nondihydropyridines are lacking. Initial reports of cancer, bleeding, and suicide have been contradicted by subsequent data, making the associations uncertain or unlikely. Remaining questions await completion of ongoing trials to better define the indications for these agents.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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