Calcium channel blockers have side effect of gum overgrowth

Amlodipine is one of the most commonly used calcium channel blockers in the UK. It and other drugs in this class such as Lercanipide, Diltiazem, and Verapamil, are used mainly to reduce blood pressure.

The main side effect of this class of drug is ankle swelling due to fluid retention. They can also cause gum hyperplasia, which is a swelling of the gums in the mouth so that teeth look as if they are embedded in a sponge.

The number of cases can be as high as 20% of patients. Cases tend to be under reported by dentists and under recognised by doctors.

As calcium channel blockers are the sixth most commonly prescribed drug in the UK, it is something to be aware of.

It is best treated by changing the drug and dental treatment.

Adapted from letter in BMJ by Francis Hughes, Emeritus professor of periodontology, London. 26th June 21.

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