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Hi, my mother has been suffering from angina pectoris for seven years. She has been taking Lopressor as her main therapy for all this time. The drug has helped her to control chest pain. Now the doctor wants to switch her to Norvasc. He says that Norvasc is a better drug than Lopressor. I have no idea why he wants to change a good therapy for a drug we dont know if it will help my mother. Is Norvasc really better than Lopressor?

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Hi, I have to say that I am to surprised that your mothers doctor wants to change her therapy, even though Lopressor was helping her with her chest pain. There is a difference in the mechanism of action between Lopressor and Norvasc. Lopressor is a drug from a group of drugs called beta blockers. They work by slowing the heart rate and lessening the force of the heart contractions. When the heart works slower, it uses less oxygen and this helps with the pain from the angina. On the other hand, Norvasc belongs to the group of calcium channel blockers. These drugs work by relaxing coronary arteries, enabling an easier blood flow to the heart. When the heart receives enough oxygen, it is able to work more properly and this results in the decrease in the angina symptoms. Basically, since your mother and you are probably only interested in the final outcome, there isnt a great difference between the Norvasc and Lopressor. They both lessen the symptoms of angina. Usually, beta blockers are a first choice drug and if they dont work, calcium channel blockers are the next choice. Since your mother responded very well to the Lopressor therapy, I really cant say why her doctor decided to change it with Norvasc. You should talk to him about this and ask him to explain the reasons for this change.
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