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Diltiazem

Pronunciation

Generic Name: diltiazem (dil-TYE-a-zem)
Brand Name: Cardizem

Diltiazem is used for:

Treating supraventricular tachycardia, a rhythm disturbance of the heart. It is also used for controlling heart rate response to other rhythm disturbances, specifically atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Diltiazem is a calcium channel blocker. It works by slowing the electrical conduction in the heart, slowing heart rate, and/or normalizing heart rhythm.

Do NOT use diltiazem if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in diltiazem
  • you have certain heart problems (eg, sick sinus syndrome, second- or third-degree heart block) and do not have a pacemaker, or you have very low blood pressure
  • you have atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter and a pre-excitation syndrome (extra conduction pathway in the heart), such as Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome (WPW) or Lown-Ganong-Levine syndrome (LGL)
  • you are receiving an injectable beta-blocker (eg, metoprolol) or erythromycin

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Before using diltiazem:

Some medical conditions may interact with diltiazem. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have heart failure, a recent heart attack with lung congestion, heart block, a very slow heart rate, abnormal heart rhythm, or other heart problems
  • if you have low blood pressure or kidney or liver disease
  • if you are taking other medicines for high blood pressure or heart conditions

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with diltiazem. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Antiarrhythmics (eg, amiodarone, dronedarone), cimetidine, clonidine, HIV protease inhibitors (eg, atazanavir, indinavir), or tricyclic antidepressants (eg, desipramine) because they may increase the risk of diltiazem's side effects, such as heart rhythm problems
  • Benzodiazepines (eg, midazolam), beta-blockers (eg, metoprolol), buspirone, carbamazepine, cilostazol, cisapride, colchicine, corticosteroids (eg, prednisone), cyclosporine, digoxin, everolimus, fentanyl, HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (eg, atorvastatin), hydantoins (eg, phenytoin), lurasidone, macrolide antibiotics (eg, erythromycin), macrolide immunomodulators (eg, tacrolimus), nifedipine, quinidine, ranolazine, theophylline, or vasopressin antagonists (eg, tolvaptan) because the risk of their side effects, some potentially life-threatening, may be increased by diltiazem
  • Moricizine or rifamycins (eg, rifampin) because they may decrease diltiazem's effectiveness

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if diltiazem may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use diltiazem:

Use diltiazem as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Diltiazem is usually given as an injection at your doctor's office, hospital, or clinic. If you will be using diltiazem at home, a health care provider will teach you how to use it. Be sure you understand how to use diltiazem. Follow the procedures you are taught when you use a dose. Contact your health care provider if you have any questions.
  • Do not use diltiazem if it contains particles, is cloudy or discolored, or if the vial is cracked or damaged.
  • Keep this product, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and pets. Do not reuse needles, syringes, or other materials. Ask your health care provider how to dispose of these materials after use. Follow all local rules for disposal.
  • If you miss a dose of diltiazem, use it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not use 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use diltiazem.

Important safety information:

  • Diltiazem may cause dizziness or drowsiness. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use diltiazem with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • Diltiazem may cause dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting; alcohol, hot weather, exercise, or fever may increase these effects. To prevent them, sit up or stand slowly, especially in the morning. Sit or lie down at the first sign of any of these effects.
  • Do NOT use more than the recommended dose or stop using diltiazem without checking with your doctor.
  • Diltiazem may cause you to become sunburned more easily. Avoid the sun, sunlamps, or tanning booths until you know how you react to diltiazem. Use a sunscreen or wear protective clothing if you must be outside for more than a short time.
  • Tell your doctor or dentist that you take diltiazem before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
  • Lab tests, including electrocardiogram (ECG), heart rate, and blood pressure monitoring, may be performed while you use diltiazem. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Use diltiazem with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects, especially swelling of the ankles, feet, or hands; dizziness; and slow heartbeat.
  • Diltiazem should not be used in CHILDREN; safety and effectiveness in children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using diltiazem while you are pregnant. Diltiazem is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking diltiazem.

Possible side effects of diltiazem:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Constipation; dizziness; facial flushing; headache; lightheadedness; tiredness; weakness.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue; unusual hoarseness); chest pain; fainting; fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat; fever, chills, or sore throat; hallucinations; mood or mental changes; personality changes; reddened, blistered, or swollen skin; severe or persistent dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea, or vomiting; shortness of breath; sudden weight gain; swelling of the feet, ankles, or hands; symptoms of liver problems (eg, dark urine, pale stools, yellowing of the skin or eyes); tender, bleeding, or swollen gums; unusual bleeding or bruising; unusual or persistent tiredness or weakness; vision changes.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include confusion; difficulty breathing, especially when lying down; dizziness; drowsiness; fainting; lightheadedness, especially when standing; loss of consciousness; nausea; nervousness; slurred speech; unusual weakness; very slow heart rate.

Proper storage of diltiazem:

Store diltiazem at room temperature, between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C). Do not freeze. Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep diltiazem out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about diltiazem, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Diltiazem is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take diltiazem or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about diltiazem. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to diltiazem. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using diltiazem.

Issue Date: April 2, 2014
Database Edition 14.2.1.001
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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