We evaluated the effect of nicardipine, a calcium channel blocker, on somatosensory evoked potentials (SEP) in 26 patients with acute cerebral infarction. Post treatment, 58% (15/26) of the N20 and P25 latencies were prolonged in the affected hemispheres; 8% (2/26) were shortened; and 35% (9/26) did not change. The mean N20 and P25 latencies were significantly prolonged two hours post treatment in the affected hemisphere (N20, P less than 0.01, P25 P less than 0.01). Nicardipine (Ni) had no effect on SEP components in the intact hemispheres. Seventy five per cent of the 12 patients with hypertension had a decrease in blood pressure (BP) after taking nicardipine, but there were no undesirable side effects or worsening of neurological signs. Our study demonstrates that nicardipine prolongs the latencies of short-latency components of SEP in the affected hemisphere after acute ischaemic stroke and also decreases BP. These observations suggest that nicardipine therapy might impair neuronal function in the ischaemic zone.
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