New Guidelines Warn Against Calcium Channel Blockers in Certain Patients

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

Recent guidelines from the New AmericanCollege of Chest Physicians alertpractitioners to the potentially fataleffects of prescribing calcium channelblockers for patients with unstable pulmonaryarterial hypertension (PAH).While those drugs are commonly usedfor treating high blood pressure, thesenew, evidence-based guidelines warnagainst empiric use in patients unresponsiveto acute pulmonary vasodilator testingdue to an increased risk of adverseand possibly fatal side effects. Membersof the expert panel who determinedthese new guidelines recommend thatphysicians conduct genetic testing onpatients who have a family history ofPAH, as well as advance screening forpatients with chronic diseases that maypredispose them to PAH. (The findingswere reported in Chest, July 2004.)