Calcium channel blockers, which are usually prescribed to treat high blood pressure, are strong vasodilators that cause relaxation of smooth muscles surrounding blood vessels in order to widen them.
For these muscles to contract, and thereby reduce the space inside the blood vessels, a small amount of calcium must cross channels in the membranes of muscle cells. Calcium channel blockers reduce the crossing of calcium, which causes the relaxation of smooth muscle, vasodilation and decrease of blood pressure.
Since these agents can ease the workload of the heart and slow intracardiac conduction, calcium channel blockers are also used to treat certain cases of angina as well as arrhythmias.
See also: Calcium Channel Blockers.
Cardiovascular drug groups:
Diuretics | Beta Blockers | Calcium Channel Blockers | ACE Inhibitors | Centrally Acting Adrenergic Drugs | Peripherally Acting Adrenergic Drugs | Nitrates | Hypolipidemic Agents | Cardiac Glycosides | Antithrombotics