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What are some side effects of calcium channel blockers?

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Quick Answer

Calcium channel blockers, used in controlling blood pressure, sometimes cause side effects ranging from irregular heartbeat to swelling of the lower extremities. According to Mayo Clinic, they sometimes interact with grapefruit products to intensify the side effects. Some patients have difficulty eliminating calcium channel blockers, so the effects intensify.

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Full Answer

WebMD advises patients taking calcium channel blockers to contact their doctor if they experience some of the more serious side effects from these medications, including weight gain or difficulty breathing. Because they lower blood pressure, the medication sometimes results in severe lightheadedness or fainting.

Calcium channel blockers often cause gastric disturbances, so the patient should take them with food or milk to minimize this side effect. They also decrease the pulse of some patients. WebMD recommends patients take their pulse regularly and keep a log of the results. Doctors usually provide a threshold pulse count. If the count drops below the threshold, the patient should call his doctor immediately.

In addition to prescribing this medication for hypertension, WebMD reports that doctors also prescribe calcium channel blockers to individuals with Raynaud’s syndrome, coronary artery disease and angina. For most groups, calcium channel blockers are a second line of defense for hypertension; however, for African Americans, this type of medication offers better control of the condition.

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