treatment for Pulmonary Hypertension

Calcium channel blockers

What are calcium channel blockers?

Targeted therapies slow the progression of PH and may even reverse some of the damage to the heart and lungs.  Calcium channel blockers (CCBs) are a type of targeted therapy used specifically to treat people with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (IPAH).

When you are first diagnosed with PH you may be tested to see if you could benefit from treatment with CCBs.  Less than one in ten people with PH benefit from taking CCBs.  However some of the patients benefitting from CCBs will have improved life-expectancy and may avoid the need for the more complex targeted therapies.

The CCBs used most frequently in people with PH are:

  • nifedipine
  • diltiazem
  • nicardipine
  • amlodipine

How do calcium channel blockers work?

CCBs can help relax the muscles around blood vessels. This means they reduce blood pressure. This is why they are sometimes used in people with PH.  The doses needed to treat PH are higher than would be prescribed for people with high blood pressure or angina.

Side effects of calcium channel blockers

Like all medicines, CCBs can cause some side effects. One of the most common problems caused by CCBs is water retention around the ankles.  Your PH specialist team will discuss this and other less likely side effects of CCBs with you.

Last medically reviewed: July, 2016 • Due for review: July, 2019

Make a single donation

I wish to give a one-time donation of: £

Gift Aid declaration:

I want the Charity to treat all donations I make from the date of this declaration until I notify you otherwise as Gift Aid donations.

You must pay an amount of income tax and/or capital gains tax at least equal to the tax that the Charity reclaims on your donations in the tax year. (Currently 25p for each pound you give).

Make a regular donation

I wish to donate: £ per month for months.

Gift Aid declaration:

I want the Charity to treat all donations I make from the date of this declaration until I notify you otherwise as Gift Aid donations.

You must pay an amount of income tax and/or capital gains tax at least equal to the tax that the Charity reclaims on your donations in the tax year. (Currently 25p for each pound you give).