The calcium antagonists have many important effects in the cardiovascular system. Three calcium antagonists are available - verapamil (Cordilox, Securon) since 1967, nifedipine (Adalat) since 1977 and diltiazem (Tildiem), introduced this year. Many others are on the way. This article discusses the actions and current role of these drugs in cardiovascular disease; their use is likely to expand quite rapidly as knowledge of their actions grows. Our assessment of their place is limited by the paucity of clinical trials providing an adequate basis for comparison with accepted first-line treatments.
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