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Calcium Channel Blockers Blood Test

Last updated Aug. 7, 2019

Approved by: Krish Tangella MD, MBA, FCAP

Calcium channel blockers (CCBs) are a class of antihypertensive medications. The other two classes of antihypertensives are ACE inhibitors and beta-blockers.

What are other Names for this Test? (Equivalent Terms)

  • CCBs Blood Test

What is the Calcium Channel Blockers Blood Test? (Background Information)

  • Calcium channel blockers (CCBs) are a class of antihypertensive medications. The other two classes of antihypertensives are ACE inhibitors and beta-blockers
  • Antihypertensives are cardiovascular drugs that decrease blood pressure. They are intended to prevent complications of high blood pressure, which include stroke, coronary heart disease (CHD), and heart failure
  • CCBs prevent the uptake of calcium ions, Ca2+, by muscle cells of the heart and arteries. This causes the heart to beat less forcefully and the arteries to widen, which help decrease blood pressure
  • Like other drugs, CCBs must be kept within a certain range to prevent unwanted side effects. If the levels are too high, it may result in toxicity; if the levels are too low, CCBs may not help lower the blood pressure
  • The Calcium Channel Blockers Blood Test helps determine the levels of CCBs in blood. It is used when adjusting the initial dose, and to ensure that CCB levels stay within an acceptable range

What are the Clinical Indications for performing the Calcium Channel Blockers Blood Test?

The clinical indications for performing the Calcium Channel Blockers Blood Test include monitoring CCB therapy.

How is the Specimen Collected for the Calcium Channel Blockers Blood Test?

Following is the specimen collection process for Calcium Channel Blockers Blood Test:

Sample required: Blood

Process of obtaining blood sample in adults:

  • A band is wrapped around the arm, 3-4 inches above the collection site (superficial vein that lies within the elbow pit)
  • The site is cleaned with 70% alcohol in an outward spiral, away from the zone of needle insertion
  • The needle cap is removed and is held in line with the vein, pulling the skin tight
  • With a small and quick thrust, the vein is penetrated using the needle
  • The required amount of blood sample is collected by pulling the plunger of the syringe out slowly
  • The wrap band is removed, gauze is placed on the collection site, and the needle is removed
  • The blood is immediately transferred into the blood container, which has the appropriate preservative/clot activator/anti-coagulant
  • The syringe and the needle are disposed into the appropriate “sharp container” for safe and hygienic disposal

Preparation required: No special preparation is needed prior to the test.

What is the Significance of the Calcium Channel Blockers Blood Test Result?

A high Calcium Channel Blockers Blood Test value may indicate CCB toxicity, which is marked by:

  • Lower back pain
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Altered mental status
  • Abnormal heart rate
  • Abnormal breathing

The laboratory test results are NOT to be interpreted as results of a "stand-alone" test. The test results have to be interpreted after correlating with suitable clinical findings and additional supplemental tests/information. Your healthcare providers will explain the meaning of your tests results in the context of the overall clinical scenario.

Additional and Relevant Useful Information:

  • Certain antihypertensive medications are merely diuretics. By increasing the rate of excretion of fluids, they decrease the volume of blood and lower blood pressure

Certain medications that you may be currently taking may influence the outcome of the test. Hence, it is important to inform your healthcare provider of the complete list of medications (including any herbal supplements) you are currently taking. This will help the healthcare provider interpret your test results more accurately and avoid unnecessary chances of a misdiagnosis.

The following DoveMed website links are useful resources for additional information:



Please visit our Laboratory Procedures Center for more physician-approved health information:


References and Information Sources used for the Article:

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: Jan. 26, 2016
Last updated: Aug. 7, 2019