Cardizem, also known by its generic name diltiazem, is a medication classified as a calcium channel blocker. It is primarily used to treat high blood pressure and angina (chest pain). Cardizem works by relaxing and widening the blood vessels, allowing for a smoother blood flow throughout the body. This helps to lower blood pressure and reduces the workload on the heart. It comes in various forms including tablets, capsules, and extended-release capsules. Cardizem is available by prescription only and should only be taken under the guidance of a healthcare professional.
Cardizem should not be taken if you:
1. Have a known hypersensitivity or allergy to diltiazem or any of its components.
2. Have certain types of heart conditions, such as severe bradycardia (slow heart rate) or heart block.
3. Are currently taking certain medications, such as rifampin or St. John’s wort, as they can interact with Cardizem and cause serious side effects.
4. Have low blood pressure or are in a state of shock.
5. Have a history of heart failure, unless specifically directed by your doctor.
It is important to disclose your full medical history and provide a complete list of all medications, supplements, and herbal products you are taking to your healthcare provider before starting Cardizem.
Cardizem may cause some side effects, although not everyone will experience them. Common side effects include:
2. Dizziness or lightheadedness
3. Fatigue or weakness
4. Flushing or feeling warm
5. Edema or swelling in the ankles or feet
Less common side effects may include nausea, constipation, and rash. It is important to contact your healthcare provider if you experience any severe or persistent side effects.
In rare cases, Cardizem may cause serious adverse reactions such as:
1. Allergic reactions, including rash, itching, swelling, severe dizziness, or difficulty breathing.
2. Liver problems, characterized by symptoms such as jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes), dark urine, and persistent nausea or vomiting.
3. Slow heartbeat, irregular heartbeat, or worsening of existing heart conditions.
4. Signs of low blood pressure, including fainting, confusion, or blurred vision.
If you experience any of these serious side effects, seek immediate medical attention.
Taking Cardizem Safely
When taking Cardizem, it is important to follow these safety guidelines:
1. Take Cardizem exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not increase or decrease your dose without consulting them.
2. Cardizem can be taken with or without food, but should be taken consistently.
3. If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not double up on doses.
4. Do not suddenly stop taking Cardizem without consulting your healthcare provider, as this may result in an increase in chest pain or worsened high blood pressure.
5. In the case of overdose symptoms such as fainting, difficulty breathing, and severe dizziness, seek immediate medical attention or contact a poison control center.
It is necessary to attend regular check-ups with your healthcare provider to monitor your response to Cardizem and to evaluate any side effects or changes in your overall health.
Cardizem may interact with several medications, potentially causing harmful effects or reducing the effectiveness of either drug. Some common drug interactions include:
1. Other blood pressure medications, including alpha blockers, beta blockers, diuretics, and ACE inhibitors.
2. Medications used to treat arrhythmias, such as other calcium channel blockers or digoxin.
3. Certain antibiotics and antifungal medications.
4. Drugs metabolized by the liver, such as statins and certain anti-seizure medications.
5. Grapefruit or grapefruit juice, as it can increase the level of Cardizem in the bloodstream.
Inform your healthcare provider about all the medications you are taking, including prescription, over-the-counter drugs, herbal supplements, and vitamins to prevent potential drug interactions.
Q: Can Cardizem be used during pregnancy?
A: Cardizem should only be used during pregnancy if the potential benefits outweigh the risks. It is important to discuss with your healthcare provider.
Q: Can Cardizem be taken while breastfeeding?
A: Cardizem may pass into breast milk. It is recommended to consult with your healthcare provider before taking Cardizem while breastfeeding.
Q: Can Cardizem be taken with alcohol?
A: It is generally recommended to avoid alcohol while taking Cardizem, as it may increase the risk of certain side effects such as dizziness and lightheadedness.
Q: Can Cardizem cause weight gain?
A: Weight gain is not a common side effect of Cardizem. However, each individual may respond differently to the medication.
Q: Can Cardizem be used in children?
A: Cardizem is not typically used in children. The safety and effectiveness of Cardizem in pediatric patients have not been well-established. Consult with a pediatrician for alternative treatments.