The relative efficacy of two calcium antagonist drugs, verapamil, 120 mg three times a day and nifedipine, 20 mg three times a day, was examined in a double-blind randomised trial. Patients were assessed at the end of four week periods by a maximal treadmill exercise test, the frequency of anginal attacks, glyceryl trinitrate consumption, and side effects. Sixteen point praecordial maps were recorded at rest, immediately after exercise, and at minute intervals for 10 minutes. Total ST segment depression (epsilon ST) was used as a measure of myocardial ischaemia. Both verapamil and nifedipine increased maximal work capacity but epsilon ST at the termination of the test remained constant. Both drugs reduced the frequency of anginal attacks and glyceryl trinitrate consumption. Systolic blood pressure at rest and on exercise was reduced by both drugs. Verapamil and nifedipine were equally effective in treating angina, but side effects were more common with nifedipine.
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