EFFICACY OF CALCIUM ANTAGONISTS: Calcium-channel blockers (CCBs) have long been recognized as potent agents for hypertensive therapy, with substantial blood pressure reduction in all age groups and races. CCBs improve endothelial function, may positively influence atherosclerosis in carotid arteries, reduce left ventricular hypertrophy, and hypertrophy of the resistance vessels, and improve arterial compliance. They do not adversely affect lipids and serum glucose. USE IN PRACTICE: CCBs are also a heterogenous class of drugs composed of the phenylalkylamine verapamil, the benzothiazepine diltiazem, and the large group of dihydropyridines (DHPs) with the prototype nifedipine, and an increasing number of newer agents (e. g. nitrendipine, nisoldipine, amlodipine, felodipine, lacidipine and lercanidipine). DHPs are primarily vasodilators, lowering blood pressure by decreasing peripheral vascular resistance at the level of the small arterioles which can be followed by an autonomic counterregulation especially in drugs with a rapid onset of action. This is markedly reduced or abolished in the treatment with the modern long acting DHPs and is also not the case in the treatment with non-DHPs. Prospective randomized controlled outcome studies demonstrated a significant reduction in stroke in elderly patients with isolated systolic hypertension compared with placebo (Syst-Eur [Syst-China]), and no significant differences in cardiovascular mortality and combined morbidity compared with diuretics, beta blockers or ACE-Inhibitors (STOP-2, INSIGHT, NORDIL, ALLHAT, INVEST). To normalize the blood pressure it is mostly necessary to combine antihypertensive drugs. Here are CCBs ideal partners for a therapy with ACE-inhibitors, AT1 antagonists or beta blockers (DHP) and diuretics (verapamil). With respect to the antihypertensive differential therapy the author recommends CCBs based on studies with the evidence grade 1-3; especially for elderly hypertensives (with isolated systolic neuhypertension and a high risk of stroke), for patients with COPD and asthma bronchiale, Raynaud's syndrome or Prinzmetal-angina, patients with diastolic function disturbances including diastolic heart failure or hypertensives with massive left ventricular hypertrophy (in combination with ACE or AT1 inhibitors).