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Although the precise mechanism of action is not known, nimodipine blocks intracellular influx of calcium through voltage-dependent and receptor-operated slow calcium channels across the membranes of myocardial, vascular smooth muscle, and neuronal cells. Nimodipine binds specifically to L-type voltage-gated calcium channels. The inhibition of calcium ion transfer results in the inhibition of vascular smooth muscle contraction. Evidence suggests that the dilation of small cerebral resistance vessels, with a resultant increase in collateral circulation, and/or a direct effect involving the prevention of calcium overload in neurons may be responsible for nimodipine's clinical effect in patients with subarachnoid hemorrhage.
Nimodipine belongs to the class of pharmacological agents known as calcium channel blockers. Nimodipine is indicated for the improvement of neurological outcome by reducing the incidence and severity of ischemic deficits in patients with subarachnoid hemorrhage from ruptured congenital aneurysms who are in good neurological condition post-ictus (e.g., Hunt and Hess Grades I-III). The contractile processes of smooth muscle cells are dependent upon calcium ions, which enter these cells during depolarization as slow ionic transmembrane currents. Nimodipine inhibits calcium ion transfer into these cells and thus inhibits contractions of vascular smooth muscle. In animal experiments, nimodipine had a greater effect on cerebral arteries than on arteries elsewhere in the body perhaps because it is highly lipophilic, allowing it to cross the blood brain barrier.
Hepatic metabolism via cytochrome P450 3A4.
Symptoms of overdosage would be expected to be related to cardiovascular effects such as excessive peripheral vasodilation with marked systemic hypotension.
Kim JH, Park IS, Park KB, Kang DH, Hwang SH: Intraarterial nimodipine infusion to treat symptomatic cerebral vasospasm after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage. J Korean Neurosurg Soc. 2009 Sep;46(3):239-44. Epub 2009 Sep 30. Pubmed
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