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Cromakalim is a vasodilator and potassium channel opener that is used in the treatment of hypertension and other cardiovascular conditions. It was first synthesized in the 1980s and has since been the subject of extensive research due to its unique mechanism of action and potential therapeutic benefits.

Mechanism of Action[edit | edit source]

Cromakalim acts by opening ATP-sensitive potassium channels (KATP channels) in the smooth muscle cells of blood vessels. This leads to an efflux of potassium ions, hyperpolarization of the cell membrane, and relaxation of the smooth muscle, resulting in vasodilation and a reduction in blood pressure.

Therapeutic Uses[edit | edit source]

Cromakalim is primarily used in the treatment of hypertension, but it has also been investigated for potential use in other cardiovascular conditions such as angina pectoris, heart failure, and pulmonary hypertension. In addition, it has been studied for its potential to protect against ischemic injury in the heart and brain.

Side Effects[edit | edit source]

The most common side effects of cromakalim include headache, dizziness, and flushing. Less common side effects can include hypotension, tachycardia, and hyperkalemia. Due to the risk of these side effects, cromakalim should be used with caution in patients with underlying cardiovascular or renal disease.

Pharmacokinetics[edit | edit source]

Cromakalim is rapidly absorbed after oral administration and has a half-life of approximately 2-3 hours. It is metabolized in the liver and excreted in the urine.

Research[edit | edit source]

Research into cromakalim and other potassium channel openers continues, with a focus on developing new drugs with improved efficacy and safety profiles. In particular, there is interest in the potential use of these drugs in the treatment of conditions such as diabetes mellitus and asthma, where KATP channels also play a key role.


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Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD