60-Second Messages

Calcium Channel Blockers

Why would I want to block calcium?

If you're taking a calcium channel blocker, you might be asking this. It's a good question. We need calcium - particularly for strong bones. But preventing too much of this calcium getting into heart cells and blood vessel walls is a good thing. Blocking calcium causes smooth muscles to relax and arterioles to dilate, reducing your blood pressure.

You know you're taking a calcium channel blocker when you have any of these on your pill box: amlodipine, diltiazem, felodipine, isradipine, nicardipine, nifedipine, nisoldipine, or verapamil.

When taking this medication, keep these things in mind:

  • These drugs may be taken with food or milk.
  • Monitor, or have your blood pressure monitored regularly.
  • Don't drink grapefruit juice. Grapefruit contains furanocoumarins, compounds that block the body's ability to break down the drug. You could end up with dangerously low blood pressure and other side-effects.
  • Consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking any drug along with your calcium channel blocker.


Calcium Channel Blockers

Calcium Channel Blockers

More information about this class of drugs.