Calcium channel blockers for anxiety disorders?

R Balon, C Ramesh
Annals of Clinical Psychiatry: Official Journal of the American Academy of Clinical Psychiatrists 1996, 8 (4): 215-20
The role of calcium in the etiology of anxiety has been proposed for several decades. Calcium channel blockers profoundly influence calcium metabolism and the transport of calcium. Even though the evidence for the role of calcium remains weak, drugs affecting calcium might be useful in the treatment of anxiety disorders. One of these compounds, verapamil, has been used to treat mood disorders. Calcium channel blockers have also been tried in other indications such as premenstrual syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, schizophrenia, tardive dyskinesia, and Tourette's syndrome. However, the number of articles on the use of calcium channel blockers in the treatment of anxiety disorders is low. Three reports (two open, one double-blind) described some success in the treatment of panic disorder with verapamil, diltiazem, or nimodipine and one open-label study described unsuccessful treatment of anxiety and phobia with nifedipine in patients with various anxiety disorders. Further double-blind placebo-controlled studies of calcium channel blockers in the treatment of anxiety disorders are warranted to determine a possible role of these compounds in the armamentarium of antianxiety drugs.


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