- High Blood Pressure Slideshow Pictures
- Take the Salt Quiz!
- Lowering Blood Pressure Exercise Tips Pictures
- What is diltiazem, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What brand names are available for diltiazem?
- Is diltiazem available as a generic drug?
- Do I need a prescription for diltiazem?
- What are the side effects of diltiazem?
- What is the dosage for diltiazem?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with diltiazem?
- Is diltiazem safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about diltiazem?
What is diltiazem, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
Diltiazem is a drug that is used for treating heart pain (angina), high blood pressure, and abnormal heart rhythms. It belongs to a class of drugs called calcium channel blockers (CCBs), which includes amlodipine (Norvasc), verapamil (Calan, Isoptin), nifedipine (Adalat, Procardia) as well as others. 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). In order to pump blood, the heart needs oxygen. The harder the heart works, the more oxygen it requires. Angina occurs when the supply of oxygen to the heart is inadequate for the amount of work the heart must do. By dilating arteries, diltiazem reduces the pressure in the arteries into which the heart must pump blood, and, as a result, the heart needs to work less and requires less oxygen. By reducing the heart's need for oxygen, diltiazem relieves or prevents angina. Dilation of the arteries also reduces blood pressure. The FDA approved diltiazem in 1982.
What brand names are available for diltiazem?
Cardizem, Cardizem CD, Cardizem LA, Tiazac, Cartia XT, Diltzac, Dilt-CD, and several others
What are the side effects of diltiazem?
Side effects include:
- edema (swelling of the legs and feet with fluid),
- low blood pressure (hypotension),
- drowsiness, and
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.
What is the dosage for diltiazem?
- Adult oral doses for chest pain or high blood pressure (hypertension) range between 120 and 540 mg daily. Dosing varies depending on formulation and use.
- Immediate release tablets are administered up to 4 times a day.
- Extended release formulations are administered once daily at approximately the same time each day and should not be crushed or chewed.
- Injectable forms are used for treating atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter and paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia.
Which drugs or supplements interact with diltiazem?
: Administration of diltiazem with digoxin (Lanoxin) can increase digoxin blood levels. Therefore, blood levels of digoxin usually are monitored to avoid toxicity from digoxin. Similarly, concurrent administration of diltiazem with an anti-seizure medication, carbamazepine (Tegretol), can increase blood levels of the seizure medication, and occasionally lead to toxicity. Diltiazem increases blood levels of lovastatin (Mevacor), atorvastatin (Lipitor) and simvastatin (Zocor), possibly increasing the risk of adverse effects. Diltiazem may increase blood levels of buspirone (Buspar), midazolam (Versed), triazolam (Halcion) and diazepam (Valium) by reducing their breakdown and elimination from the body by the liver. This can lead to toxicity from these drugs. Rifampin (Rifamate, Rifadin, Rimactane) reduces the effect of diltiazem by reducing its levels in blood to undetectable levels.
Is diltiazem safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
Diltiazem is excreted in breast milk. To avoid adverse effects in the infant, diltiazem should not be taken while nursing.
What else should I know about diltiazem?
What preparations of diltiazem are available?
- Tablets (immediate release): 30, 60, 90, and 120 mg.
- Tablets (extended release): 120, 180, 240, 300, 360, 420 mg.
- Capsules (extended release): 120, 180, 240, 300, 360, 420 mg.
- Powder for injection: 100 mg.
- Injectable Solution: 5 mg/ml.
How should I keep diltiazem stored?
Tablets, capsules and powder for injection should be stored at room temperature, 15 C and 30 C (59 F and 86 F). Solution for injection should be stored at 2 C and 8 C (36 F and 46 F).
Quick GuideHow to Lower Blood Pressure: Exercise Tips
diltiazem (Cardizem, Cardizem CD, Cardizem LA, Dilacor XR, Tiazac, Cartia XT and several others) is a medication prescribed to treat angina, high blood pressure, and abnormal heart rhythms. Diltiazem is in a class of drugs called calcium channel blockers (CCBs). Side effects, drug interactions, dosage, and precautions should be reviewed prior to taking this medication.
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) Quiz: Symptoms, Signs & Causes
Take this quiz and test your IQ of high blood pressure (hypertension), the cardiovascular disease that causes most strokes and...
Heart Disease Quiz: Test Your Medical IQ
Take our Heart Disease Quiz to get answers and facts about high cholesterol, atherosclerosis prevention, and the causes,...
Picture of Hypertension
High blood pressure, defined as a repeatedly elevated blood pressure exceeding 140 over 90 mmHg -- a systolic pressure above 140...
Heart Disease: Causes of a Heart Attack
Learn about heart disease and heart attack symptoms and signs of a heart attack in men and women. Read about heart disease...
Heart Disease: Symptoms, Signs, and Causes
What is heart disease (coronary artery disease)? Learn about the causes of heart disease. Symptoms of heart disease include chest...
Related Disease Conditions
Raynaud's phenomenon is characterized by a pale-blue-red sequence of color changes of the digits, most commonly after exposure to...
Migraine headache is a type of headache associated with a sensitivity to light, smells, or sounds, eye pain, severe pounding on...
Fainting (Syncope) Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, and Prevention
Fainting, also referred to as blacking out, syncope, or temporary loss of consciousness has many causes. Often a person will have...
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) Signs, Causes, Diet, and Treatment
High blood pressure (hypertension) is a disease in which pressure within the arteries of the body is elevated. About 75 million...
Heart disease (coronary artery disease) occurs when plaque builds up in the coronary arteries, the vessels that supply blood to...
Angina (Symptoms, Causes, Types, Diagnosis, and Treatment)
Angina is chest pain due to inadequate blood supply to the heart. Angina symptoms may include chest tightness, burning,...
Mitral Valve Prolapse (Syndrome, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Surgery)
Mitral valve prolapse (MVP), also called "click murmur syndrome" and "Barlow's syndrome," is the most common type of heart valve...
Scleroderma is an autoimmune disease of the connective tissue. It is characterized by the formation of scar tissue (fibrosis) in...
Paroxysmal Supraventricular Tachycardia (PSVT)
Paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (PSVT) is an abnormal conduction of electricity in particular areas of the heart. PSVT...
Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) Symptoms, ECG, and Treatment Medications
Atrial fibrillation (AF or AFib) is an abnormality in the heart rhythm which involves irregular and often rapid beating of the...
Atrial Flutter (Symptoms, Causes, ECG, and Treatments)
Atrial flutter is a problem with the atria of the heart. In atrial flutter the atria of the heart rapidly and repeatedly beat...
High Blood Pressure Treatment (Natural Home Remedies, Diet, Medications)
High blood pressure (hypertension) means high pressure (tension) in the arteries. Treatment for high blood pressure include...
Abnormal Heart Rhythms (Heart Rhythm Disorders)
Heart rhythm disorders vary from minor palpitations, premature atrial contractions (PACs), premature ventricular contractions...
Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) Treatment Drugs
Atrial fibrillation (also called Afib or Afib) is heart rhythm disorder that causes irregular, and often, a rapid heartbeat. The...
Febrile seizures, or convulsions caused by fever, can be frightening in small children or infants. However, in general, febrile...
Treatment & Diagnosis
- High Blood Pressure FAQs
- Heart Disease FAQs
- How To Reduce Your Medication Costs
- Pharmacy Visit, How To Get The Most Out of Your Visit
- Indications for Drugs: Approved vs. Non-approved
- Drugs: Buying Prescription Drugs Online Safely
- Drugs: The Most Common Medication Errors
- Medication Disposal
- Dangers of Mixing Medications
- Generic Drugs, Are They as Good as Brand-Names?
Medications & Supplements
- High Blood Pressure Drugs (Hypertension)
- Drugs: Questions to Ask Your Doctor or Pharmacist about Your Drugs
- Drug Interactions
- Calcium Channel Blockers (CCBs)
- amlodipine, Norvasc
- nifedipine, Adalat (discontinued brand), Procardia, Afeditab, Nifediac
- nicardipine, Cardene, Cardene SR
- amiodarone, Cordarone, Nextrone, Pacerone
- verapamil (Calan, Verelan, Verelan PM [Discontinued: Isoptin, Isoptin SR, Covera-HS])
- bepridil (Vascor, Bepadin - Discontinued)
Prevention & Wellness
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.