Magnitude of and Characteristics Associated With the Treatment of Calcium Channel Blocker-Induced Lower-Extremity Edema With Loop Diuretics

Scott Martin Vouri, Xinyi Jiang, Todd M. Manini, Laurence M. Solberg, Carl Pepine, Daniel C. Malone, Almut G. Winterstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Importance: Calcium channel blockers, specifically dihydropyridine calcium channel blockers (DH CCBs, eg, amlodipine), may cause lower-extremity edema. Anecdotal reports suggest this may result in a prescribing cascade, where DH CCB-induced edema is treated with loop diuretics. Objective: To assess the magnitude and characteristics of the DH CCB prescribing cascade. Design, Setting, and Participants: This cohort study used a prescription sequence symmetry analysis to assess loop diuretic initiation before and after the initiation of DH CCBs among patients aged 20 years or older without heart failure. Data from a private insurance claims database from 2005 to 2017 was analyzed. Use of loop diuretics associated with initiation of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, and other commonly used medications was used as negative controls. Data were analyzed from March 2019 through October 2019. Exposures: Initiation of DH CCB or negative control medications. Main Outcomes and Measures: The temporality of loop diuretic initiation relative to DH CCB or negative control initiation. Secular trend-adjusted sequence ratios (aSRs) with 95% CIs were calculated using data from 360 days before and after initiation of DH CCBs. Results: Among 1 206 093 DH CCB initiators, 55 818 patients (4.6%) (33 100 [59.3%] aged <65 years; 32 916 [59.0%] women) had a new loop diuretic prescription 360 days before or after DH CCB initiation, resulting in an aSR of 1.87 (95% CI, 1.84-1.90). An estimated 1.44% of DH CCB initiators experienced the prescribing cascade. The aSR was disproportionately higher among DH CCB initiators who were prescribed high doses (aSR, 2.20; 95% CI, 2.13-2.27), initiated amlodipine (aSR, 1.89; 95% CI, 1.86-1.93), were men (aSR, 1.96; 95% CI, 1.91-2.01), and used fewer antihypertensive classes (aSR, 2.55; 95% CI, 2.47-2.64). The evaluation of ACE inhibitors or ARBs as negative controls suggested hypertension progression may have tempered the incidence of the prescribing cascade (aSR for ACE inhibitors and ARBs, 1.27; 95% CI, 1.24-1.29). Conclusions and Relevance: This study found an excessive use of loop diuretics following initiation of DH CCBs that cannot be completely explained by secular trends or hypertension progression. The prescribing cascade was more pronounced among those initially prescribed a high dose of DH CCBs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e1918425
JournalJAMA Network Open
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Magnitude of and Characteristics Associated With the Treatment of Calcium Channel Blocker-Induced Lower-Extremity Edema With Loop Diuretics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this