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Calcium entry blockers in the treatment of hypertension. Current status and future prospects.

JAMA 1989 August 12
Calcium entry blockers will be increasingly used for the treatment of hypertension. The currently available calcium entry blockers are similar in antihypertensive efficacy but differ in their effects on the atrioventricular node and the degree of peripheral vasodilatory action. The new generation of dihydropyridine calcium entry blockers exhibits more specific vasodilatory actions with a less negative inotropic effect, which may affect their use in patients with congestive heart failure. The responsiveness to these drugs is little affected by race or age. Because of their mild natriuretic action, the concomitant use of dietary sodium restriction or diuretics may be less necessary. Short-term administration of calcium entry blockers preserves or improves renal function; however, their long-term effect has not been documented. Calcium entry blockers have not exhibited protection against coronary heart disease, but experimental evidence supports the continued search for cardioprotection. Calcium entry blockers are important drugs for the treatment of hypertension; the second generation may provide additional benefits because of its more specific pharmacologic actions.

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