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difference between beta and calcium channel?


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Rahda, I don't think there is a perfect answer to your question--everyone responds a little differently, and it often takes a system of trial and error to find what works "best" for any single person.


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See below:

Beta blockers work by blocking many of the effects of adrenaline in your body, particularly its stimulating effect on your heart. The result is that your heart beats more slowly and less forcefully while the blocker is active in your body. A common side effect is lethargy and a feeling of fatigue. Certain classes of the beta-blocking drugs also may decrease the blood level of HDL, or good cholesterol.

Calcium channel blockers interrupt the normal flow of calcium into the heart through cell membranes. This dilates the coronary and other arteries and increases blood flow to the heart. It also diminishes the heart's demand for oxygen by decreasing blood pressure, heart rate and the vigor of heart muscle contraction. Side effects may include lowering of blood pressure or heart rate beyond what is medically needed.

Both medications lower the blood pressure. It is important to monitor your blood pressure and show your physician what your blood pressure is when you are not in the office. Also, report any side effects to your doctor. Sometimes it is necessary to change medications a couple of times until the right one is found for you.

I agree with Nina though...we are all different and different drugs work or don't work for different people so it's worth trying both if your Dr. agrees to see which is best for you.

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When I was first dx'd last year, my doctor at the Birmingham Dysautonomia clinic said she wanted to try me on a calcium channel blocker (cardizem) instead of a beta blocker b/c she thought it would have less of an effect on my blood pressure than the BB would (since my blood pressure was extremely low at that time). However after trying it about a week I quit just because I felt very lethargic on it and had a really hard time waking up in the mornings. I never tried anything else since then.

There seems to be a lot of people on the board that take beta blockers vs. calcium channel blockers though. It seems that some lower your BP more than others. Definitely a trial and error thing unfortunately. Talk to your doctor and see what he/she thinks.


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radha -

like nina said re: your question in general, i think the same applies re: the degree of lowered BP. we're all different, as are the different specific meds (of both categories). there are so many factors - dosages, the specific med, interactions with other meds, the individual, etc - that there's unfortunately not likely a definitive answer. personally i've done well with a VERY SMALL dose of a beta blocker in combination with other meds (to raise my BP) but cannot take it on its' own; i've never been on a calcium channel blocker.

good luck trying to find the best thing for you,

;) melissa

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