Calcium Channel Blockers verse Beta Blockers ???

So I have to ask the question now .. do anyone of you you take a Calcium Channel Blocker for V-tach instead of a Beta Blocker?

I would appreciate any and all feed back.. :)

Thanks so much

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Hi Renee
I had an MI 6 months ago, due to a spontaneous dissection. After the MI I was treated with Norvasc (calcium channels blocker), Normiten (Beta blocker), Aspirin and Plavix. Although the dissection has been already healed, I've had pains the whole time. When we tried to reduce the Norvasc, the pains became worse, and it was diagnosed as, apparently, spasm. My cardiologist said that with spasm, the Normiten could contribute to the pains, and we stopped it - which indeed improved my feeling. He explained me that In the arteries we have Alpha receptors & Beta receptors. A stimulus to the Alpha rec. causes an artery contraction. A stimulus to the beta rec. relaxes and dilate the artery. When taking an alpha blocker; the artery cannot completely constrict. A beta blocker blocks the dilation. While stopping taking the Beta blocker, we let the artery to relax and dilate again, and ease the spasm. The Norvasc works differently: it works directly on the smooth muscle and dilates the arteries.
I also saw the "patient package" of the Normiten, in the list of "do not take this medicine without consulting a doctor...", that one of the things is "if you have a type of chest pain called Prinzmetal's angina" (spasm).
I don't know what exactly you have, but in my case I guess the Norvasc helps much more than the normiten.
Be well!

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Heh-heh--If you're reading Jaynie, here's a bone for you.

Yes, please explain it to us.



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i'm not sure what mine are, but i take lisinopril, digoxin, amiodarone, spironolactone and coreg........(i also take coumadin and lasix)......i have only had 5 years to learn what most of them are, and have yet to do it!! i think it is a mental block

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p.s. i also have v tach, a fib, bradycardia, valve regurgitation, left bundle branch block, dilated cardiomyopathy and a very low ef. have bi-vent pacer/icd and the meds to try to control all of the above don't have a clue what controls what........

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I also take Norvasc for Spasm. Haven't had any problems with it. Would be afraid to stop taking it.


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I am taking Cardizem, which is a calcium channel blocker, for atrial fibrillation. It also controls high blood pressure. It took about 9 months to get the dosage correct. I also take coumadin which is an anti-coagulant. It is to prevent strokes. For eviefor3, amiodarone is an anti-arrhythmia drug. The time may come when I will need that medication, but I hope to avoid it as long as possible, as the side effects are scary to me.

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Evie, Evie, Evie......

Your Digoxin (a cardiac glycoside) and Amiodarone (an antiarrhythmic) are keeping your rhythm under control. (I know you learned about the Amio from my post on Mamasmurfs discussion) : ). Digoxin helps improve your left ventricular ejection fraction and controls your ventricular response in Atrial Fibrillation. Amiodarone controls the arrhythmias.

Lisinopril (an ACE-Inhibitor) works with the Digoxin and the diuretics. You need to be careful with salt substitutes while your taking this as one of the things that can happen is high serum levels of potassium.

Spironolactone is a Potassium sparing diuretic. Again you can develop high serum levels of potassium. Lasix is another diuretic, but not one that will help you retain potassium, in fact, this one will help it leave your body. Both of the diuretics are recommended for those with cardiomyopathy, working with the Digoxin. Both also work in different parts of the kidney.

Because you have a history of Atrial Fibrillation, you take Coumadin, an anticoagulant. The A-Fib places you at a high risk of developing clots, so you want to keep your blood thin to prevent this.

You are taking Coreg, a Beta-Blocker, for your cardiomyopathy.

They are all working together, improving your cardiac function and keeping you out of the hospital.....


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i have a love/hate with the coumadin and the amiodarone......have very thick blood so they keep upping the dosage but it also seems to have thinned my skin as well as the blood.......
the amiodarone, i know, the risk of the side effects seems pretty high, but given the benefits, i just keep my fingers crossed that i will never be one of the ones that has any problems from it.

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thank you so much for that reply!! i got more information that i can retain from your post than i have gotten over the past months for the amio and the past 5 years on all the others. it just put it all into one neat little package rather than having 7 packages and trying to fit them all in one box (if you know what i mean) to try to make sense of it.
thank you again so much

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Many people have a love/hate relationship with Coumadin--it's alot of work to keep your levels where they need to be so you don't have complications.

I think you may be the first person to tell me about the love/hate relationship with Amiodarone.

You are welcome.....


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the amiodarone: love what i can only imagine it is doing for my heart, hate what i have read are some of the potential side effects or complications from taking it. that one just seems like you are MAYBE dogged if you do, but really dogged if you don't so i do.

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Hi Odia
Thank you so much for that lucid explanation of the differences between calcium channel blockers and beta blockers. All I know is that I have coronary vasospasm, Prinzmetal Angina and have been told never to take beta blockers under any circumstances.
Cheers Mel

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I was prescribed a calcium channel blocker by my PCP for spasms in my toes. Ouch! (I am a walker.) I have never taken it because I seem to be on a med cocktail that is working for me and I don't want to upset the apple cart. I'd rather deal with the pain--old hard-headed, long-suffering me. But what I'm gathering from this conversation is that calcium channel blockers are used for artery spasms. (Not my heart problem but I also have Mixed Connective Tissue Disease and I get muscle spasms. Also seem to have some sort of artery spasm deep in my brain.) So I guess they would also help with spasms elsewhere. Has anyone heard of this?

Also, I've done a Jaynie research study on Fosomax and my conclusion is that it is not good for women heart patients. I do a calcium and Vitamin D supplement and try to get at least a small dose of sunshine every day.

Nurses: Don't be afraid to speak up.

Thank you.


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Hi Melicious
Another thing: a few weeks ago, when my doc. was more convinced that my pain is arterial spasm, he told me that stopping the Plavix might also help. We stopped it and it really reduced the pains. I've also read that with Prinzmetal angina, Aspirin might contribute to the pain. I'll ask my Dr. next time about it - I hope I can stop it either...
Be well

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Hi Everyone thank you so much for all of your feedback I really appreciate it.

Melicious - how did they test you for coronary vasospasm, Prinzmetal Angina??

Just curious - thanks :)

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My first MI was a dissection and the second a spasm. My cardiologist said it is not good to use beta blockers with a spasm history. I don't really consider myself a spasm patient though (and I don't know what caused the dissection) b/c I haven't any symptoms.

My spasm history was over 8 yrs ago during post partum (when I had them very severe and wondered, after the dissection in '07, if any of them were dissections) .

The more recent one-time spasm (Aug 07) happened in the hospital after being stented for the dissection. I think it can go into remission, if so I hope it never comes back!

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No help from me...I take Toprol XL for my cardiomyopathy and v-tach.

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I have spasms, and I take a beta blocker and aspirin. They don't seem to be causing me any problems.


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Hi Lisa,

Just wanted to know which beta blocker you were on. I too have spasms, and have been told by one cardio not to take betas and then by another that they would be ok.

Maybe you could shed some light. Thank you!


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