Calcium channel blocker poisoning

  • Miran Brvar
  • Hugon Možina
  • Martin Možina
  • Matjaž Bunc
Keywords: calcium antagonists, overdose, calcium, glucagone, insulin


Background: Calcium channel blockers act at L-type calcium channels in cardiac and vascular smooth muscles by preventing calcium influx into cells with resultant decrease in vascular tone and cardiac inotropy, chronotropy and dromotropy. Poisoning with calcium channel blockers results in reduced cardiac output, bradycardia, atrioventricular block, hypotension and shock. The findings of hypotension and bradycardia should suggest poisoning with calcium channel blockers.

Conclusions: Treatment includes immediate gastric lavage and whole-bowel irrigation in case of ingestion of sustainedrelease products. All patients should receive an activated charcoal orally. Specific treatment includes calcium, glucagone and insulin, which proved especially useful in shocked patients. Supportive care including the use of catecholamines is not always effective. In the setting of failure of pharmacological therapy transvenous pacing, balloon pump and cardiopulmonary by-pass may be necessary.


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How to Cite
Brvar M, Možina H, Možina M, Bunc M. Calcium channel blocker poisoning. ZdravVestn [Internet]. 1 [cited 17Jan.2019];74(4). Available from:
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