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L-type calcium channel blockers may contribute to heart failure

L-type calcium channel blockers (LCCBs) – the most widely used drugs for treating hypertension – may harm the heart as much as help it, according to a new study by Penn State College of Medicine researchers.

A head-and-shoulders professional photo of Mohamed Trebak

Mohamed Trebak, PhD, professor of cellular and molecular physiology

The research team, led by Mohamed Trebak, professor of cellular and molecular physiology, found that in rats and human cells in vitro, LCCBs cause changes in blood vessels – known as vascular remodeling – that reduce blood flow and increase pressure.

They examined epidemiological data and found that LCCBs are associated with a greater risk of heart failure. The findings, published on July 8 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggest that care should be taken when prescribing these drugs to patients, particularly older adults and those with advanced hypertension.

“In the United States, nearly half of all adults – or just over 100 million – have hypertension, and its prevalence is increasing; worldwide, the condition is expected to affect 1.56 billion people by 2025,” Trebak said. “L-type calcium channel blockers are one of the most widely prescribed drugs to treat hypertension, yet we have found that these drugs may cause the same type of damage they are intended to prevent.”

The study benefited from the use of Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute’s research population discovery tool, TriNetX. Martin Johnson, a student in Penn State College of Medicine’s MD/PhD Medical Scientist Training Program working in Dr. Trebak’s lab and a study co-author, is a graduate of the institute’s year-long Translational Research Training Program (TL1). Learn more about Johnson’s use of TriNetX in this story.

Read more about the research on Penn State News.

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