potassium channel activator
potassium channel activatorOne of a new class of drugs that greatly enhances the movement of potassium ions through channels in cell membranes. The action on the membranes of smooth muscle cells in arterial walls is to cause hyperpolarization so that the cells' sensitivity to the normal stimuli to contraction is reduced. The muscle fibres are thus relaxed and the arteries widened. Drugs in this class are useful in improving the blood supply to the heart muscle in ANGINA PECTORIS. A typical drug in this group is nicorandil (Icorel).
Collins Dictionary of Medicine © Robert M. Youngson 2004, 2005