Who should take a calcium channel blocker for high blood pressure?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

Calcium channel blockers and diuretics are often considered good treatment choices for older people with high blood pressure. But research shows that calcium channel blockers, diuretics, ACE inhibitors, and angiotensin receptor blockers are all equally effective for older adults.

Calcium channel blockers can be used as a second-line drug treatment or as an alternative to beta blockers for people with high blood pressure and stable angina.

Diltiazem and verapamil can reduce heart rate. These drugs are sometimes prescribed for people with atrial fibrillation and other causes of rapid heart rate.

Nifedipine is effective in managing Raynaud's disease. Many clinicians consider it the first-choice drug for the condition.

A diuretic or calcium channel blocker is recommended as the first drug treatment for older adults with isolated systolic hypertension (high systolic blood pressure with normal diastolic blood pressure).

Calcium channel blockers improve the flow of blood in narrowed arteries. They can help some people with painful leg cramps (claudication) or narrowing of arm or leg arteries because of atherosclerosis, a buildup of plaque in the arteries.

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