Calcium channel—blocking drugs, also referred to as calcium antagonists and slow-channel blockers, have had a major impact on the treatment of cardiovascular disorders such as angina, arrhythmias, and hypertension in adults. Although the drugs are labeled for use in only a limited number of pathologic conditions in children, clinical evaluations in a variety of illnesses are under way. Among the exciting potential uses are the treatment of asthma, control of premature labor, and as adjunctive therapy in cancer chemotherapy. The purpose of this report is to review research that has relevance to the therapeutic application of calcium channel blockers in the young.
Calcium and its regulation are vital to a wide range of physiologic functions, including myocardial contractility, nerve impulse transmission, smooth-muscle contraction, and secretory activity of exocrine glands. An essential role for calcium was suggested by Ringer1,2 in 1883, when he demonstrated that the addition of calcium