Scientists find heart risks of widely used high blood pressure drug

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A recent study conducted by researchers at Penn State and other institutions has raised concerns about the safety of a commonly prescribed class of medications used to treat high blood pressure.

These medications, known as L-type calcium channel blockers (LCCBs), are widely used to manage hypertension, a condition that affects millions of people worldwide.

The study findings suggest that while LCCBs are effective at lowering blood pressure, they may also have detrimental effects on the heart.

LCCBs and High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a prevalent health issue affecting nearly half of all adults in the United States and a growing number of people worldwide.

LCCBs are among the most commonly prescribed drugs for hypertension treatment. They work by targeting calcium channels in vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs), which are responsible for regulating blood vessel constriction and relaxation.

Unintended Consequences: Heart Health Concerns

The study’s findings indicate that LCCBs, while successful in lowering blood pressure, may lead to unintended consequences.

When individuals have hypertension, calcium channels in VSMCs allow an excessive amount of calcium to enter these cells, triggering physiological changes referred to as “remodeling.”

This process involves the division and proliferation of VSMCs, causing blood vessel walls to thicken and become less flexible, ultimately contributing to elevated blood pressure.

Double-Edged Sword: LCCBs and Heart Failure

The study’s researchers discovered that LCCBs, designed to counteract VSMC remodeling, may paradoxically induce these remodeling processes through another mechanism.

In their investigation, they employed various tools to study smooth muscle cells both in vitro and in rats.

Additionally, they examined clinical data and observed a higher incidence of heart failure in hypertensive patients treated with LCCBs compared to those using other hypertension medications.

Implications and Caution

These findings have important implications for the treatment of hypertension, particularly in older adults and individuals with advanced hypertension.

While LCCBs can effectively lower blood pressure, their potential association with heart failure raises concerns.

Patients, healthcare providers, and researchers should exercise caution when considering the use of LCCBs, especially in cases where vascular remodeling is evident due to chronic hypertension.


In summary, this study sheds light on the potential risks associated with a widely used class of high blood pressure medications, L-type calcium channel blockers (LCCBs).

While these drugs effectively lower blood pressure, they may also contribute to heart-related complications, including heart failure.

This research underscores the importance of careful consideration and monitoring when prescribing LCCBs, particularly in patients with chronic hypertension.

It is essential to strike a balance between effectively managing blood pressure and minimizing potential adverse effects on heart health.

If you care about blood pressure, please read studies about New research challenges conventional blood pressure guidelines and findings of Scientists make a big breakthrough in high blood pressure treatment.

For more information about blood pressure, please see recent studies about how coffee influence your risk of high blood pressure, and results showing this olive oil could reduce blood pressure in healthy people.

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