Dihydropyridine: Think Amlodipine and Nifedipine (-dipine)
They act through systemic vascular vasodilation of arteries. Can be used to treat angina. NOTE: can cause hypotension and cause reflex tachycardia (this is bad for patients with ischemic symptoms)
Non-Dihydropyridine: Think Verapamil and Diltiazem
They act selectively on the myocardium. This will reduce oxygen demand of myocardial tissue. They have minimal systemic effect and are less likely to cause reflex tachycardia.
1. Hockerman, G.H.; Peterson, B.Z.; Johnson, B.D.; Catterall, W.A. (1997). “Molecular Determinants of Drug Binding and Action on L-Type Calcium Channels”. Annual Review of Pharmacology and Toxicology 37: 361–396