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Dihydropyridine vs. Nondihydropyridine: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Published on January 28, 2024
Dihydropyridines are a class of calcium channel blockers mainly affecting vascular smooth muscles, while nondihydropyridines also block calcium channels but predominantly affect the heart.

Key Differences

Dihydropyridines, a group of medications, primarily act on vascular smooth muscles, causing vasodilation and reducing blood pressure. Nondihydropyridines, another group within the calcium channel blockers, have a more significant effect on the heart muscle, affecting heart rate and contraction strength.
The dihydropyridine class includes drugs like amlodipine and nifedipine, known for their effectiveness in treating hypertension. Nondihydropyridines such as verapamil and diltiazem are used not only for hypertension but also for their effects on cardiac arrhythmias and angina.
Dihydropyridines work by selectively blocking L-type calcium channels in the vascular smooth muscle, leading to vasodilation. Nondihydropyridines also block these channels but are more selective for cardiac muscle, thereby reducing heart rate and contractility.
In terms of side effects, dihydropyridines are commonly associated with peripheral edema and flushing due to their vasodilatory actions. Nondihydropyridines, on the other hand, can cause bradycardia and negative inotropic effects, reflecting their cardiac effects.
When considering drug interactions, dihydropyridines may have interactions that affect their metabolism and blood pressure-lowering effect. Nondihydropyridines have a different set of interactions, often involving drugs that affect cardiac function or rhythm.

Comparison Chart

Primary Effect

Vasodilation, mainly affects vascular smooth muscles
Affects heart rate and contractility

Common Drugs

Amlodipine, Nifedipine
Verapamil, Diltiazem


Selective for L-type calcium channels in vascular smooth muscle
Selective for cardiac muscle

Common Side Effects

Peripheral edema, flushing
Bradycardia, negative inotropic effects

Typical Uses

Hypertension, cardiac arrhythmias, angina

Dihydropyridine and Nondihydropyridine Definitions


Dihydropyridines are calcium channel blockers that primarily cause vasodilation.
Amlodipine, a dihydropyridine, is often prescribed to lower blood pressure.


Nondihydropyridines act on the heart by reducing heart rate and contractility.
Nondihydropyridines are preferred in patients with atrial fibrillation for rate control.


Dihydropyridines are used for their antihypertensive and vasodilatory effects.
Patients with high blood pressure may benefit from dihydropyridine medications.


Nondihydropyridines are calcium channel blockers that predominantly affect cardiac function.
Verapamil, a nondihydropyridine, is used to treat arrhythmias.


Dihydropyridines selectively block calcium channels in vascular smooth muscles.
Dihydropyridines are effective in reducing the risk of stroke in hypertensive patients.


Nondihydropyridines are used in treating hypertension, angina, and cardiac arrhythmias.
Diltiazem, a nondihydropyridine, effectively manages chronic stable angina.


Dihydropyridines, a class of medications, are known for their role in treating hypertension.
Nifedipine, a dihydropyridine, is also used in the management of angina.


Nondihydropyridines selectively block calcium channels in cardiac muscle.
Nondihydropyridines can cause bradycardia as a side effect due to their cardiac effects.


Dihydropyridines work by relaxing blood vessels, thereby lowering blood pressure.
The introduction of dihydropyridines has revolutionized the treatment of chronic hypertension.


Nondihydropyridines are important for their cardiac rhythm-modulating properties.
In patients with supraventricular tachycardia, nondihydropyridines are often the first-line treatment.


A molecule based upon pyridine, the parent of a class of molecules that have been semi-saturated with two substituents replacing one double bond.


That which is not a dihydropyridine.


What are nondihydropyridines?

Nondihydropyridines are calcium channel blockers with primary effects on the heart.

Are dihydropyridines used for heart rate control?

Dihydropyridines are primarily used for vasodilation and not for heart rate control.

Can dihydropyridines be used in angina?

Yes, dihydropyridines like nifedipine can be used in the management of angina.

How do dihydropyridines lower blood pressure?

Dihydropyridines lower blood pressure by causing vasodilation of blood vessels.

Can nondihydropyridines cause bradycardia?

Yes, due to their effect on the heart, nondihydropyridines can cause bradycardia.

What is a common side effect of dihydropyridines?

A common side effect of dihydropyridines is peripheral edema.

How do nondihydropyridines affect cardiac contractility?

Nondihydropyridines reduce cardiac contractility, useful in certain heart conditions.

What are dihydropyridines?

Dihydropyridines are a class of calcium channel blockers mainly affecting vascular smooth muscles.

What is the main use of nondihydropyridines?

Nondihydropyridines are used for hypertension, angina, and controlling cardiac arrhythmias.

Is amlodipine a dihydropyridine?

Yes, amlodipine is a commonly prescribed dihydropyridine.

What is the mechanism of action of dihydropyridines?

Dihydropyridines block L-type calcium channels in vascular smooth muscle.

Are nondihydropyridines effective for stroke prevention?

Nondihydropyridines are more focused on cardiac conditions than stroke prevention.

Can nondihydropyridines treat hypertension?

Yes, they are used in treating hypertension, especially when cardiac effects are desired.

What are the drug interactions of nondihydropyridines?

Nondihydropyridines have interactions with drugs affecting cardiac function or rhythm.

Can dihydropyridines cause flushing?

Yes, flushing is a side effect due to the vasodilatory action of dihydropyridines.

Are nondihydropyridines suitable for all hypertensive patients?

Their use depends on individual patient conditions, especially cardiac health.

How are dihydropyridines metabolized?

Dihydropyridines are metabolized in the liver, with interactions affecting their metabolism.

Are nondihydropyridines used for arrhythmias?

Yes, they are particularly useful in treating cardiac arrhythmias.

Do dihydropyridines have cardiac effects?

Dihydropyridines have less direct cardiac effects compared to nondihydropyridines.

Can nondihydropyridines negatively affect the heart?

In some conditions, they can have negative inotropic effects, which must be monitored.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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