Calcium Channel Blockers

Calcium Channel Blockers

PEP Topic 
Peripheral Neuropathy

Calcium channel blockers are medications commonly used to treat high blood pressure. The potential effect of these medications on development of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy was studied.

Effectiveness Not Established

Research Evidence Summaries

Tatsushima, Y., Egashira, N., Narishige, Y., Fukui, S., Kawashiri, T., Yamauchi, Y., & Oishi, R. (2013). Calcium channel blockers reduce oxaliplatin-induced acute neuropathy: A retrospective study of 69 male patients receiving modified FOLFOX6 therapy. Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy, 67, 39-42.

doi: 10.1016/j.biopha.2012.10.006

Study Purpose:

Determine whether treatment with calcium channel blockers prevented oxaliplatin-induced acute neuropathy

Intervention Characteristics/Basic Study Process:

Retrospective chart review was conducted to obtain data, and analysis was performed to determine differences in neuropathy symptoms between patients who were and were not on calcium channel blockers.

Sample Characteristics:

  • N = 69  
  • MEAN AGE = 62 years for the control group and 70 years for the intervention group
  • MALES = 100%
  • KEY DISEASE CHARACTERISTICS: Colorectal cancer; no staging data provided
  • OTHER KEY SAMPLE CHARACTERISTICS: 35% of patients in the calcium channel blocker group were diabetic.


  • SITE: Single site 
  • SETTING TYPE: Not specified 
  • LOCATION: Japan

Phase of Care and Clinical Applications:

PHASE OF CARE: Active antitumor treatment

Study Design:

Two-group,  retrospective, cross-sectional

Measurement Instruments/Methods:

  • Acute neuropathy charts were reviewed for symptoms of acute neuropathy including cold hypersensitivity, perioral paresthesias, shortness of breath, difficulty swallowing, pharyngolaryngeal dysesthesia, throat and jaw tightness, and dysphonia.
  • Chronic neuropathy was evaluated using change of chemotherapy schedule and addition of supplementary analgesics.


The incidence of acute neurotoxicity was lower in the calcium channel group; however, no differences existed related to chronic neuropathy.


Patients receiving calcium channel blockers may experience less acute neurotoxicity than those not receiving calcium channel blockers, but more well-designed studies are needed before any conclusions can be made.


  • Measurement validity/reliability was questionable.
  • Study design was retrospective.
  • Study primarily focused on acute oxaliplatin-induced neurotoxicity, which is a unique side effect of oxaliplatin and distinctly different from chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, which is chronic and has a different presentation and trajectory.
  • Patients were already on calcium channel blockers when they enrolled in the study.

Nursing Implications:

More studies are needed before any clinical implications can be made.