A prospective, randomized, double-blind, crossover study to compare the efficacy and safety of chronic nifedipine therapy with that of isosorbide dinitrate and their combination in the treatment of chronic congestive heart failure

Circulation. 1990 Dec;82(6):1954-61. doi: 10.1161/01.cir.82.6.1954.


We performed a prospective, randomized, double-blind, crossover study to compare the efficacy and safety of vasodilation with the calcium entry blocker nifedipine with that of isosorbide dinitrate (ISDN) and their combination as treatment for heart failure. Twenty-eight patients with New York Heart Association Functional class II or III chronic heart failure due to left ventricular systolic dysfunction were studied. All patients were maintained on a constant dose of digitalis and diuretics throughout the study. Eight weeks of therapy with nifedipine alone or in combination with ISDN resulted in a significantly higher incidence of heart failure deterioration necessitating hospitalizations and/or additional diuretics. Twenty-four percent of patients required hospitalization during nifedipine therapy and 26% required hospitalization during nifedipine-ISDN combination therapy in comparison to 0% requiring hospitalization during ISDN therapy alone. The total number of heart failure-worsening episodes was nine among patients on nifedipine, three among patients on ISDN (p less than 0.09 versus nifedipine), and 21 among patients on nifedipine-ISDN combination (p less than 0.001 versus nifedipine, p less than 0.0001 versus ISDN). Premature discontinuation of drug administration due to clinical deterioration or other side effects occurred in 29% of patients during nifedipine therapy, 5% of patients during ISDN therapy (p = 0.05 versus nifedipine), and 19% of patients during the combination therapy. A comparison of eight patients who demonstrated clinical deterioration on nifedipine with the remainder of the patients demonstrated no significant difference in left ventricular ejection fraction (0.24 +/- 0.06 versus 0.23 +/- 0.07) or maximal oxygen uptake during exercise (13 +/- 3 versus 14 +/- 2 ml/kg/min).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blood Pressure
  • Chronic Disease
  • Diuretics / therapeutic use
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Combinations
  • Exercise Test
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / drug therapy*
  • Heart Failure / metabolism
  • Heart Failure / physiopathology
  • Heart Rate
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Isosorbide Dinitrate / adverse effects
  • Isosorbide Dinitrate / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardium / metabolism
  • Nifedipine / adverse effects
  • Nifedipine / therapeutic use*
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Time Factors


  • Diuretics
  • Drug Combinations
  • Nifedipine
  • Isosorbide Dinitrate