Calcium channel blockers (CCB) are a class of drugs utilized to treat hypertension and certain kinds of arrhythmias of the heart. The basic function of CCBs are to block calcium, and decrease the intracellular content of the calcium ion. Calcium is an important ion involved in muscle contraction. It plays an important function in the contractility of the heart muscle. The CCBs fall into two categories the dihydropyridine(DHP)s a class which the “pines” fall into, that is amlodipine, felodipine, nicardipine, nifedipine. These drugs are potent vasodilators which relax arterial smooth muscle causing a decrease in blood pressure(BP). Non dihydropyridine (non DHPs) also belong in the CCBs classification and includes medications as verapamil and diltiazem. The non DHPs have been found to have negative inotropic effect and should be avoided in Congestive Heart Failure (CHF). However non DHPs can be given to aid in the management of patients with kidney disease. (DeDea, 2012).
DeDea, L. (2012). How do dihydropyridine and non dihydropyridine calcium channel blockers differ. JAAPA 25(3). p15