Diltiazem belongs to a group of medications known as calcium-channel blockers, and it is prescribed for the treatment of hypertension (high blood pressure) and angina (chest pain). Its mechanism of action involves relaxing the blood vessels, thus reducing the pressure on the heart to pump harder, while simultaneously increasing the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart.
Uses and Dosage
Diltiazem is available in tablet, extended-release tablet, and extended-release capsule formulations for oral administration. The standard tablet is generally taken three or four times per day, while the extended-release capsule and tablet are typically taken once or twice per day.
Consult with a pharmacist to determine whether diltiazem should be taken with or without food, as these instructions may differ depending on the product. Consistency in administration is important, take diltiazem at the same time(s) every day.
Strict adherence to the prescription label’s instructions is crucial when taking diltiazem. If there is any aspect of the instructions that is unclear, seek clarification from a doctor or pharmacist. Take diltiazem precisely as prescribed, neither more nor less, and not more frequently than recommended by a physician.
Extended-release capsules and tablets should be swallowed whole, without being chewed or crushed.
The dosage of diltiazem will begin at a low level, with gradual increases not exceeding once every 7 to 14 days for extended-release capsules and tablets, and once every 1 to 2 days for the regular tablet.
Diltiazem may manage chest pain if taken regularly, but it does not prevent chest pain from occurring. A separate medication may be recommended by a physician for chest pain relief.
Diltiazem helps control high blood pressure and chest pain, but it does not cure these conditions. The benefits of diltiazem may take up to two weeks to manifest fully, and it is important to continue taking it even when feeling well. Stopping diltiazem without consulting with a doctor is not advisable.
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention:
- tired feeling
- upset stomach
- flushing (warmth, redness, or tingly feeling)
- sore throat
- stuffy nose
Inform your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any serious side effects:
- swelling of the face, eyes, lips, tongue, hands, arms, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- yellowing of the skin or eyes
- extreme tiredness
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- lack of energy
- loss of appetite
- pain in the upper right part of the stomach
- flu-like symptoms
- increase in frequency or severity of chest pain
Prior to taking diltiazem, inform your doctor or pharmacist of any allergies you may have, including allergies to diltiazem or any other substances in the product. Inactive ingredients contained within the medication may cause allergic reactions or other complications.
Before beginning treatment with this medication, you should inform your doctor or pharmacist of your medical history, particularly if you have experienced certain types of heart rhythm disorders (such as sick sinus syndrome or atrioventricular block), liver or kidney disease, or heart failure.
This medication has the potential to cause dizziness. The use of alcohol or marijuana may exacerbate this effect. Until you can do so safely, avoid driving, operating machinery, or performing other activities requiring alertness.
Older adults may experience heightened sensitivity to the medication’s side effects, particularly dizziness, constipation, or swelling of the ankles/feet.
This medication should only be used during pregnancy if there is a clear need for it. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
This medication passes into breast milk and may have adverse effects on a nursing infant. Consult with your doctor before breastfeeding while using this medication.
Form and Strength
Cardizem is available in the following forms and strengths:
Is Cardizem a beta blocker?
No. Cardizem is a calcium channel blocker.
Can Cardizem be taken long term?
Cardizem is typically prescribed for months or years. There are no side effects due to long-term administration according to one study, so long-term use is considered safe.