Calcium channel blockers are widely used in the treatment of ischemic heart disease, hypertension, and supraventricular tachycardia. The prototype agents, verapamil, nifedipine, and diltiazem, represent three classes of calcium channel blockers, each of which has different pharmacologic effects. Nifedipine and the other dihydropyridines primarily are vasodilators and have no clinical effects on cardiac conduction or contractility. Diltiazem and verapamil also are vasodilators, but they possess, to varying degrees, negative inotropic, chronotropic, and dromotropic effects. Side effects of these drugs are relatively rare and usually not serious, with the exception of potential conduction disturbances and heart failure in patients with underlying cardiac disease. To assess patients taking these medications and provide the necessary teaching, the nurse needs an understanding of the pharmacologic properties, clinical indications, and potential adverse effects of the various drugs

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