Medically reviewed on June 7, 2018
Available Dosage Forms:
Therapeutic Class: Cardiovascular Agent
Pharmacologic Class: Calcium Channel Blocker
Chemical Class: Phenylalkylamine
Uses For verapamil
Verapamil is used to control rapid heartbeats or abnormal heart rhythms. It belongs to a group of drugs called calcium channel blocking agents. Verapamil 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 .
Verapamil is available only with your doctor's prescription .
Before Using verapamil
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 verapamil, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to verapamil 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 verapamil in the pediatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established .
No information is available on the relationship of age to the effects of verapamil 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 verapamil .
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while 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 verapamil, 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 verapamil 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 verapamil 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.
- Bupivacaine Liposome
- Dabigatran Etexilate
- Doxorubicin Hydrochloride Liposome
- Morphine Sulfate Liposome
- Vincristine Sulfate Liposome
Using verapamil 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.
- St John's Wort
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.
Using verapamil with any of the following is usually not recommended, but may be unavoidable in some cases. If used together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use verapamil, or give you special instructions about the use of food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Using verapamil with any of the following may cause an increased risk of certain side effects but may be unavoidable in some cases. If used together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use verapamil, or give you special instructions about the use of food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other Medical Problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of verapamil. 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
- Congestive heart failure, severe or
- Heart block (type of abnormal heart rhythm, can use if have a pacemaker that works properly) or
- Lown-Ganong-Levine syndrome (type of abnormal heart rhythm) or
- Severe hypotension (blood pressure too low) or
- Sick sinus syndrome (type of abnormal heart rhythm, can use if have a pacemaker that works properly) 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—Use with caution. The effects of verapamil may be increased because of slower removal from the body .
Proper Use of verapamil
A nurse or other trained health professional will give you verapamil. Verapamil is given through a needle placed into one of your veins .
Precautions While Using verapamil
Your doctor will only give you a few doses of verapamil 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 .
Verapamil 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
- chest pain or discomfort
- dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up from a lying or sitting position suddenly
- fast, slow, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse
- lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting
- shortness of breath
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- difficulty breathing
- noisy breathing
- tightness in chest
Incidence not known
- loss of bladder control
- muscle spasm or jerking of all extremities
- sudden loss of consciousness
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:
- Hives or welts
- redness of skin
- skin rash
- stomach soreness or discomfort
Incidence not known
- feeling of constant movement of self or surroundings
- feeling sad or empty
- increased sweating
- lack of appetite
- loss of interest or pleasure
- sensation of spinning
- trouble concentrating
- trouble sleeping
- uncontrolled eye movements
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
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