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Discharge Instructions: Taking Calcium Channel Blockers

Your doctor prescribed a drug called a calcium channel blocker for you. This type of medication can treat high blood pressure, correct abnormal heart rhythms, and relieve a type of chest pain called angina.


The name of your calcium channel blocker is  _____________________


Home Care

  • Follow the fact sheet that came with your medication. It tells you when and how to take your medication. Ask for a sheet if you didn’t get one.

  • Take this medication exactly as directed, even if you feel fine.

  • If you miss a dose of this medication, take it as soon as you remember—unless it’s almost time for your next dose. In that case, just wait and take your next dose at the normal time. Don’t take a double dose.

  • Don’t drive until you know how you will react to this medication.

  • Tell your doctor about any other medications or herbal remedies you are using.

  • Be sure to give this medication time to work. It may take several weeks to lower blood pressure.

  • Learn to take your own pulse. Keep a record of your results. Ask your doctor which pulse rates mean that you need medical attention.

  • Don’t eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice; it may interact with calcium channel blockers.

  • Ask your doctor how much exercise and activity is safe.

  • See your doctor regularly while taking this medication.

Possible Side Effects

Tell your doctor if you have any of these side effects. Don’t stop taking the medication unless your doctor tells you to. Mild side effects include the following:

  • Sore, bleeding gums

  • Mild headache

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness

  • Flushing

  • Nausea

When to Call Your Doctor

Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following:

  • Severe headache

  • Slow, weak pulse

  • Breathing problems, coughing, or wheezing

  • Irregular, fast, or pounding heartbeat

  • Skin rash

  • Swollen ankles, feet, or lower legs

  • Constipation

Online Medical Reviewer: Kolbus, Karin, RN, DNP, COHN-S
Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Last Review Date: 2/25/2014
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