bepridil, Vascor (cont.)

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Like other calcium channel blockers, bepridil partially prevents the increase in calcium within the heart's muscle cells that causes the cells to contract. As a result, the muscle cells contract less vigorously. Less vigorous contraction means that the heart works less and needs less oxygen. This effect is useful in treating angina pectoris (heart pain), which occurs when the need of the heart for oxygen to do work exceeds its supply of oxygen. By reducing the need for oxygen, bepridil prevents angina pectoris. Unlike other calcium channel blockers, bepridil does not lower blood pressure and is not used to treat high blood pressure.

Because it can cause abnormal heart rhythms, bepridil generally is reserved for patients who have not responded to other drugs for angina pectoris. Bepridil was approved by the FDA in December 1990.



PREPARATIONS: Tablets: 200 mg.

STORAGE: Tablets should be stored at room temperature, 15C to 30 C (59 F to 86 F).

PRESCRIBED FOR: Bepridil is prescribed for patients with angina pectoris (heart pain) due to coronary artery disease.

DOSING: Bepridil usually is taken once daily. It can be taken with meals or at bedtime if nausea is a problem.

DRUG INTERACTIONS: Bepridil can reduce the strength with which the heart muscle contracts. Drugs which also have this effect when given together with bepridil could seriously reduce contraction of the heart and possibly precipitate congestive heart failure. Such drugs include quinidine (Quinaglute; Duraquin; Quinidex), procainamide (Procan-SR; Pronestyl), disopyramide (Norpace), flecainide (Tambocor), verapamil (Calan; Isoptin; Covera; Verelan), diltiazem (Cardizem; Tiazac; Dilacor), and all beta-blockers, for example, atenolol (Tenormin).

Bepridil slows the ability of the heart's muscle to recover electrically and get ready for the next contraction. Other drugs which have the same effect could interact with bepridil, possibly causing serious problems with abnormal heart rhythms and should be used cautiously if at all with bepridil. Such drugs include quinidine (Quinaglute; Duraquin; Quinidex), procainamide (Procan-SR; Pronestyl), disopyramide (Norpace), flecainide (Tambocor), and tricyclic antidepressants, for example, amitriptyline (Elavil, Endep).

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