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September 17, 1982

Calcium blockers: more than angina

JAMA. 1982;248(11):1285-1287. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330110003001

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Calcium entry blockers, a class of drugs of which two—verapamil and nifedipine—have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of angina, have begun to show promise in certain other disorders involving smooth muscle as well.

One such disorder is essential hypertension. Trials with both FDA-approved drugs have been in progress in Europe and Japan since the early 1970s and have yielded almost uniformly encouraging results. Among physicians in the United States who have administered the drugs to patients with hypertension on an individual basis, the feeling is one of cautious optimism.

Other disorders are those that involve spasms in smooth muscle, such as asthma, achalasia, myometrial contractions, and migraine. Here, however, most investigators agree that it is much too early to issue a verdict. David Tinkleman, MD, assistant clinical professor of pediatrics at the Medical College of Georgia School of Medicine in Augusta, is conducting a