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February 14, 1996

FDA Gives Calcium Channel Blockers Clean Bill of Health but Warns of Short-Acting Nifedipine Hazards

JAMA. 1996;275(6):423-424. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530300007004

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AS A CLASS the calcium channel antagonists are safe to use. There is no reason not to use these agents for treating hypertension, a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory committee has concluded. But physicians whose patients are receiving one type of this class of drug, short-acting nifedipine, are warned that use of this agent could increase the risk of myocardial infarction in some patients.

In taking this position the committee is in agreement with a statement issued last September by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health, which warned physicians that because of this increased risk short-acting nifedipine should be used with great caution, especially at higher doses.

The FDA's Cardiovascular and Renal Drugs Committee reached its conclusion following a day-long review of three epidemiologic studies of patients with hypertension and unstable angina treated with calcium channel blockers, and also a summary of