Edited by Professor Anthony Heagerty
Over the last 30 years, a new class of therapeutic agent has emerged for the management of cardiovascular disorders such as angina and hypertension. The calcium channel antagonists began life largely bred from dihydropyridines such as Nifedipine. However, it soon became clear that other structurally diverse moieties could also affect the calcium channel and in doing so induce therapeutically advantageous changes on the circulation.
The spectrum that comprises calcium channel antagonists continues to expand with the development of agents with specificity for individual vascular beds and intriguing insights from pre-clinical studies suggesting new ways of interfering with cardiovascular disorders such as reversal of atheroma or normalisation of hypertension-induced structural changes.
The use of calcium channel antagonists has not been without controversy. The last three years has seen a hot debate about their long term safety record. Therefore, it seemed timely to produce a review of calcium channel antagonists and to place their usage into perspective. To this end we have assembled a distinguished group of contributors who have considered the pharmacology of these drugs, have placed the safety controversy into perspective and examined both present and future clinical implications for these drugs. As such, we hope that within these pages both primary care physicians and hospital doctors will be able to seek and rapidly find the information that will support their evidence-based employment of these drugs which will allow their use in the correct clinical context.
1 Pharmacology - P A Meredith
2 Clinical use of calcium channel antagonists in Hypertension - E Agabiti-Rosei and D RIzzoni
3 Clinical use of calcium channel antagonists in Angina - K Prasad and JR Cockcroft
4 Clinical safety - J A Miller
5 The future - J Diez