Evaluation of the safety of short-acting nifedipine in children with hypertension

Pediatr Nephrol. 2002 Jan;17(1):35-40. doi: 10.1007/s004670200006.


Concerns regarding the safety of nifedipine emerged in 1995 with the report of an increased risk of myocardial infarction associated with adult patients receiving short-acting calcium channel blockers. There have been few case reports of adverse events in children. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effect on blood pressure (BP) and the incidence of adverse events associated with nifedipine in our pediatric population. We conducted a retrospective chart review of pediatric patients who received nifedipine. We recorded the dose administered, all BP measurements and all adverse events reported within six hours of a nifedipine dose regardless of the likelihood that those events were related to the nifedipine dose. 1,746 doses of nifedipine in 166 pediatric patients were reviewed. Systolic BP decreased by a mean of 17% and a maximum of 63%. Diastolic BP decreased by a mean of 28% and a maximum of 89%. Adverse events included: a) change in neurologic status, six cases; b) hypotension, two cases; c) oxygen desaturation, 16 cases. Neurologic events occurred in 33% of patients with acute CNS injury and 3.6% of all patients. Short-acting nifedipine is an important and effective oral antihypertensive agent which can be safely used for the treatment of hypertensive emergencies in children. It should be used with caution in children with acute CNS injury.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Calcium Channel Blockers / administration & dosage
  • Calcium Channel Blockers / adverse effects*
  • Calcium Channel Blockers / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / drug therapy*
  • Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Hypotension / chemically induced
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Nervous System Diseases / chemically induced
  • Nifedipine / administration & dosage
  • Nifedipine / adverse effects*
  • Nifedipine / therapeutic use*
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Safety


  • Calcium Channel Blockers
  • Nifedipine
  • Oxygen