Calcium-channel blockers are increasingly used in angina and hypertension, but verapamil, diltiazem, and even nifedipine1 can precipitate heart failure. Nicardipine (Cardene - Syntex, licensed from Yamanouchi) is a newer drug in this group, related to nifedipine. It is claimed to relax smooth muscle selectively and not depress the myocardium or cardiac conducting tissue, and so to ‘avoid unnecessary risks in treating the older hypertensives’.
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