Harvard Health Letter

Is this common blood pressure drug risky?

Some evidence suggests calcium-channel blockers have an association with breast cancer and kidney problems.

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Calcium-channel blockers can help lower your blood pressure.

Calcium-channel blockers, or CCBs, are often prescribed when other medications to treat high blood pressure aren't working well. Commonly prescribed CCBs include amlodipine (Norvasc) and diltiazem (Cartia XT). Some CCBs are also used to treat chest pain (angina) and irregular heartbeats. "Agents such as amlodipine are very effective for high blood pressure, with relatively infrequent side effects. This makes them popular," says Dr. Deepak Bhatt, a Harvard Medical School professor and editor in chief of the Harvard Heart Letter.

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