Biovail | Diltiazem (Medication)
Diltiazem is in a group of drugs called calcium channel blockers. It works by relaxing the muscles of your heart and blood vessels. Diltiazem is used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure), angina (chest pain), and certain heart rhythm disorders.
CCBs block the entry of calcium into muscle cells that make up the heart and that surround the arteries. It is the entry of calcium into these cells that causes the cells to contract, allowing the heart to pump blood, and the arteries to narrow. By blocking the entry of calcium, diltiazem decreases the force of contraction of the heart and its rate of contraction. It also relaxes the muscles surrounding the arteries, allowing the arteries to widen (dilate)….
Diltiazem: Side Effects
Side effects include constipation, nausea, headache, rash, edema (swelling of the legs with fluid), low blood pressure, drowsiness, and dizziness. Liver dysfunction and overgrowth of the gums also may occur.
Diltiazem can cause mildly abnormal liver tests that usually return to normal with discontinuation of the medication. When diltiazem is given to individuals with heart failure, symptoms of heart failure may worsen because these drugs reduce the ability of the heart to pump blood. Like other drugs for high blood pressure, diltiazem is associated with sexual dysfunction….
Do not use diltiazem if you have certain heart conditions such as sick sinus syndrome or AV block (unless you have a pacemaker), low blood pressure, or if you have recently had a heart attack.
Before taking diltiazem, tell your doctor if you have kidney disease, liver disease, or congestive heart failure. Diltiazem may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert. Do not stop taking this medication without first talking to your doctor. If you stop taking diltiazem suddenly, your condition may become worse.
Diltiazem may be only part of a complete program of treatment that also includes diet, exercise, and other medications. Follow your diet, medication, and exercise routines very closely. If you are being treated for high blood pressure, keep using diltiazem even if you feel well. High blood pressure often has no symptoms….