Cardizem, the brand name of the drug Diltiazem, is a nondihydropyridines formulation that acts as a calcium channel blocker. The drug’s mechanism of action is to relax the muscles of blood vessels, and as a result regulate the blood pressure.
The primary use of Cardizem is to treat high blood pressure. The prescription medication is also used to treat certain types of arrhythmia and angina pectoris.
As an off-label use, Cardizem may be prescribed as a measure to prevent migraine headaches.
Cardizem can also induce the heart to lower the blood pressure rate by reducing the strength and pumping speed of each heartbeat. The compressed pills have an active half-life of about three to four and a half hours.
The typical dosage of Cardizem depends on the patient’s health requirements and may range from 180 mg to 360 a day.
Cardizem should be taken exactly as prescribed, without modifying the dose on one’s own. The extended release capsules should never be broken, crushed, or opened but swallowed whole.
Cardizem may be prescribed for long-term use and should not be discontinued even if the individual is feeling better as high blood pressure does not usually have visible symptoms. The patient must regularly check the blood pressure level and also take blood tests frequently for any issues.
Common side effects experienced from taking Cardizem are headache, nausea, mild rash, and dizziness. More persistent drug reactions that require immediate medical assistance include flu like symptoms, severe skin reactions, trouble breathing, heart problems, light-headedness, and serious changes in the heartbeat rate.
What drugs interact with Cardizem?
Botanicals that contain St. John’s wort can interact adversely with Cardizem. Other medications to watch out for are similar blood pressure drugs, beta blockers, and heart health products. Consulting with the physician on the same can reduce the risk of side effects and prevent any unwarranted interactions.
Alcohol and grapefruit are best avoided while taking Cardizem as they can cause harmful effects. It is not advised to nurse a baby with breast milk while on this medication as it may be unsafe.
For the safe use of Cardizem, it is recommended to consult the healthcare provider for potentially harmful interactions with any drugs that the individual may already be using, including vitamins, herbal supplements and OTC pills.