calcium channel blockers

Any of you have experience with using calcium channel blockers instead of beta blockers? I recently switched and so far prefer the calcium channel blocker. The beta blockers always made me feel like I was operating at idle - I'm feeling more like the engine is running and responding to changes in demand. I have chronic atrial fib and hypertension. I'm taking both an ACE inhibitor as well as the calcium channel blocker. Pulse and BP both seem well controlled. My PM is set for a low pulse of 50 - I pace about 11%.


3 Comments

Calcium Channel Blockers

by SMITTY - 2008-02-26 03:02:53

I have a little; experience with calcium channel blockers as I had one, Cardizem/diltiazem, prescribed for me in the mid-8s’s and I have taken it more or less constantly since. I say more or less constantly because every once in a while I’ll get a doctor that will take me off the calcium channel blocker. They usually do so when the want me to take a beta blocker or ACE inhibitor. But given my druthers, I would never change my diltiazem dosage.

My experience with calcium blockers is they do an out standing job of controlling my hypotension with no side effects, provided I do not take too much. I’ve actually taken as little as 30 mg/day to as much as 480 mg/day. The 480 mg dosage caused almost constant arrhythmia and extremely hard palpations.

While I’m on a beta blocker right now, I’ll be going back to my CCB at 60 mg/day as soon as the current doctor quits experimenting with my medications. I’m not arguing with him right now because I ran into a problem with exercised induced arrhythmia and he said a CCB could cause arrhythmia. Since I went to him for help I thought it only fair that I let him try whatever the thought was best and he put the BB. But I’ve been down this road several times during the last 25+ years and I have yet to find anything that really helps. It has always been that one day Mother Nature will restore things to where they should be and the arrhythmia will go away or just get better.

I want to emphasize that I do not advocate anyone follow in my foot steps when it comes to juggling their medicines. I make changes very slowly and keep precise records so that I know what changes, good or bad, I am seeing. Like when I reduced my dosage of CCB from 480 mg/day to 60 mg/day. I did that over a period of a year and it was almost two years before I would tell my doctor what I had done.

I will say If you are taking a CCB for the first time, be aware of any changes you experience with your heart rhythm. Since we are all different we can react differently to any given medication. For me diltiazem is the best medication I have ever had prescribed to treat MY heart disease.

Good Luck,

Smitty

Calcium Channel Blocker vs Beta Blocker

by Meadowlark - 2008-02-26 12:02:17

For the record, I also have hypertension and was on ACE inhibitors for many, many years. Over 2 years ago (and long before my PM) I was put on Micardis, an Angiotensin II Receptor Blocker (ARB). I was switched from ACE's to ARB's because of the nagging "cough" side-effect of ACE's; my hypertension is effectively controlled with Micardis (Micardis generic is telmisartan).

As for your beta-blocker question, I posted the following comment on 2008-01-15 16:29 to a discussion about Toprol; it might be helpful.

I was put on Toprol (not XL so took it 2xday) after I had my PM implanted in Nov 07. The purpose was to lower my heart rate to avoid tachycardia. I felt sluggish and "fog-brained" with Toprol but decided to give it a chance. Well, on Dec 14 2007 I went to the ER with a heart rate of 144BPM, higher than my BPM had EVER been! They kept me overnight and the next day my cardiologist took me off Toprol and put me on Cardizem (a calcium-channel blocker). YAY! I hated Toprol but love Cardizem....no more sluggish, brain-fogged days. I feel "normal" for the first time in months. Plus, my heart rate has not been over 71 since (my PM is set at 60 so it never drops below 59-60) starting the Cardizem.

Each person is different, but for me, beta-blockers makes things worse in many ways. I guess it is trial and error...I'm still new at all this.

I wish you the best.

I am on

by Megg - 2008-03-31 12:03:10

Cardizem Diltiazem CCB 180 mg slow release for Prinzmetal's Angina,I also have a dual chamber pacemaker. I have no side effects from the CCB and feel absolutely normal.

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