Cardizem belongs to a family of medications known as calcium channel blockers. It is used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure), angina (chest pain), and certain heart rhythm disorders. It works by relaxing blood vessels and by reducing the workload of the heart. Cardizem may also be used to control your heart rate if you have a fast or irregular heartbeat (such as atrial fibrillation).
Take Cardizem exactly as prescribed by your doctor. The recommended dose can range from 30 mg to 360 mg daily which is usually taken 3 or 4 times a day. The recommended starting dose for treatment of chest pain (angina) is 30 mg four times daily (before meals and at bedtime). If necessary, your doctor may increase your dose to better control your chest pain. The dosage can also be decreased if you experience bothersome side effects.
Before taking Cardizem you should talk with your doctor if you have heart disease, congestive heart failure, irregular heart rhythm that slows down your heart rate (arrhythmia), sick sinus syndrome, liver or kidney disease, cirrhosis, low blood pressure, any allergies. The medication can increase liver enzymes which may be a sign of liver damage. This drug may make you dizzy. Do not drive or perform tasks that require alertness. Avoid drinking alcohol. Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may interact with diltiazem and lead to potentially dangerous effects.
Do not take Cardizem if you are allergic to diltiazem or any ingredients of the medication, are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have certain types of heart rhythm problems, low blood pressure, weakened pumping action of the heart (left ventricular failure), fluid in your lungs.
Possible side effect
Get emergency medical help if you have diarrhea, heartburn, constipation, difficulty breathing, flushing, dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea, headache, nervousness, tiredness, abdominal pain, weakness, coughing, wheezing, fainting, irregular or fast heartbeat, skin rash, swelling of ankles, feet, vomiting. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor.
Tell your doctor about all other medications you use, especially: benzodiazepines (clobazam, quazepam, diazepam, flurazepam), cimetidine, beta blockers (labetalol, bisoprolol, propranolol), clonidine, statins (atorvastatin, simvastatin, lovastatin), quinidine, digoxin, rifampin, cyclosporine. Interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Tell your doctor about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking.
Take the missed dose as soon as possible. Skip the missed dose if it is time for your next scheduled dose. Don't take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
If you think you have overdosed the medicine seek emergency medical help at once. The overdose symptoms are lightheadedness, dizziness, fainting, difficulty breathing, fluid retention, low blood pressure (hypotension), heart failure, slow heart rate (bradycardia).
Store the medicine at room temperature between 68-77 degrees F (20-25 degrees C) away from light and moisture. Do not store the drugs in the bathroom. Keep all drugs away from reach of children and pets.
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