Calcium channel blockers and cardiovascular outcomes: a meta-analysis of 175 634 patients

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The aim of this study was to assess the effect of calcium channel blocker (CCB) treatment, compared with other drugs or placebo/top of therapy, on all-cause mortality, cardiovascular death, major cardiovascular events, heart failure, myocardial infarction and stroke.


We performed a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials that compared a long-acting calcium channel blocker with another drug or placebo/top of therapy and that assessed all-cause mortality and cardiovascular events.


We included 27 trials (175 634 patients). The risk of all-cause death was reduced by dihydropyridine CCBs [odds ratio (OR) 0.96; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.93–0.99; comparison P = 0.026; heterogeneity P = 0.87)] without influence of placebo trials. The risk of heart failure was increased by CCBs compared with active treatment (OR 1.17; 95% CI 1.11–1.24; comparison P = 0.0001; heterogeneity P = 0.0001), and it was decreased when compared with placebo (OR 0.72; 95% CI 0.59–0.87; comparison P = 0.001; heterogeneity P = 0.77), also in the subgroup of coronary artery disease patients (OR 0.76; 95% CI 0.61–0.95; comparison P = 0.01; heterogeneity P = 0.29). CCBs did not increase the risk of myocardial infarction (OR 1; 95% CI 0.95–1.04; comparison P = 0.83, heterogeneity P = 0.004), cardiovascular death (OR 0.97; 95% CI 0.93–1.02; comparison P = 0.24; heterogeneity P = 0.16), major cardiovascular events (OR 0.97; 95% CI 0.90–1.06; comparison P = 0.53; heterogeneity P = 0.0001). CCBs decreased the risk of fatal or nonfatal stroke (OR 0.86; 95% CI 0.82–0.90; comparison P = 0.0001, heterogeneity P = 0.12), also, when compared with angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (OR 0.87; 95% CI 0.78–0.97; comparison P = 0.016; heterogeneity P = 0.48).


Our study demonstrates that CCBs reduce the risk of all-cause mortality compared with active therapy and prevent heart failure compared with placebo. Furthermore, with the inclusion of recent trials, we confirm that they reduce the risk of stroke, also in comparison to angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and do not increase the risk of cardiovascular death, myocardial infarction and major cardiovascular events.

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