Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on May 1, 2022.
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
Available Dosage Forms:
- Powder for Solution
Therapeutic Class: Cardiovascular Agent
Pharmacologic Class: Calcium Channel Blocker
Chemical Class: Benzothiazepine
Uses for diltiazem
Diltiazem is used to control rapid heartbeats or abnormal heart rhythms. It belongs to a group of drugs called calcium channel blocking agents. Diltiazem affects the movement of calcium into the cells of the heart and blood vessels. As a result, the heart beats slower and the blood vessels relax, thus, increasing the supply of blood and oxygen to the heart while reducing its workload.
Diltiazem is available only with your doctor's prescription.
Before using diltiazem
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For diltiazem, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to diltiazem or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of diltiazem in the pediatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established.
No information is available on the relationship of age to the effects of diltiazem in geriatric patients. However, elderly patients are more likely to have age-related kidney or liver problems, which may require an adjustment in the dose for patients receiving diltiazem.
Studies in women suggest that this medication poses minimal risk to the infant when used during breastfeeding.
Interactions with medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are receiving diltiazem, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using diltiazem with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.
Using diltiazem with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
- Doxorubicin Hydrochloride Liposome
- Morphine Sulfate Liposome
- Sirolimus Protein-Bound
- St John's Wort
Using diltiazem with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
Interactions with food/tobacco/alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Other medical problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of diltiazem. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Atrial fibrillation (type of abnormal heart rhythm) or
- Cardiogenic shock (shock caused by heart attack) or
- Heart block (type of abnormal heart rhythm, can use if have a pacemaker) or
- Severe hypotension (blood pressure too low) or
- Short PR syndrome (type of abnormal heart rhythm) or
- Sick sinus syndrome (type of abnormal heart rhythm, can use if have a pacemaker) or
- Ventricular tachycardia (type of abnormal heart rhythm) or
- Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome (type of abnormal heart rhythm)—Should not use in patients with these conditions.
- Kidney disease or
- Liver disease or—Use with caution. The effects of diltiazem may be increased because of slower removal from the body.
Proper use of diltiazem
A nurse or other trained health professional will give you diltiazem. Diltiazem is given through a needle placed into one of your veins.
Precautions while using diltiazem
Your doctor will only give you a few doses of diltiazem until your condition improves, and then you will be switched to an oral medicine that works the same way. If you have any concerns about this, talk to your doctor.
Diltiazem side effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
- Blurred vision
- dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up from a lying or sitting position suddenly
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- Fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat
- chest pain
- decreased urine output
- difficult or labored breathing
- dilated neck veins
- dry mouth
- extreme fatigue
- irregular breathing
- joint pain, stiffness, or swelling
- lower back, side, or stomach pain
- no heartbeat
- shortness of breath
- swelling of feet or lower legs
- tightness in chest
- trouble sleeping
- troubled breathing
- weight gain
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- Bleeding, blistering, burning, coldness, discoloration of skin, feeling of pressure, hives, infection, inflammation, itching, lumps, numbness, pain, rash, redness, scarring, soreness, stinging, swelling, tenderness, tingling, ulceration, or warmth at the injection site
- feeling of warmth or heat
- flushing or redness of the skin, especially on the face and neck
- Change in vision
- impaired vision
- itching skin
- lack or loss of strength
More about diltiazem
- Side effects
- Drug interactions
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- During pregnancy or Breastfeeding
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- Drug class: calcium channel blocking agents
- Drug Information
- Diltiazem (Advanced Reading)
- Diltiazem Long-Acting Tablets
- Diltiazem 12-Hour Sustained-Release Capsules
- Diltiazem Injection
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