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Diltiazem

Diltiazem

Overview

Cardizem CD belongs to a class of medicines called calcium channel blockers. Because of their safety and effectiveness, these drugs have helped revolutionize the treatment of angina and high blood pressure.

Cardizem CD is prescribed to treat high blood pressure alone or in combination with other blood pressure pills. It is also helpful for certain forms of angina.

Other brand names for diltiazem include Cardizem SR, Dilacor XR and Tiazac.

Side Effects and Interactions

Cardizem CD is usually well tolerated with few side effects, but some people react to this drug with fluid retention, leading to swelling of the legs, feet or hands. Headache, dizziness, loss of strength, slowed heart rate, heart problems or flushing may also occur.

Other side effects include nausea, rash, constipation, increased blood sugar, sexual difficulties and depression.

The skin may be especially sensitive to sunburn, and precautions should be taken to avoid ultraviolet exposure. Report any symptoms or suspected side effects to your physician promptly.

Cardizem CD can interact with a number of other drugs, including several that are used to treat high blood pressure or heart conditions, the anticonvulsant Tegretol, the ulcer medicine Tagamet, lithium and the transplant drug Sandimmune.

The herb St. John’s wort might speed elimination of diltiazem from the body, which could reduce its effectiveness.

Check with your doctor and pharmacist to make sure Cardizem CD is safe in combination with any other drugs or herbs you take.

Special Precautions

People with liver or kidney disease should take Cardizem CD under close medical supervision and monitoring.

Some people may feel dizzy if they sit or stand up suddenly. Low blood pressure or a recent heart attack also signal serious problems.

Taking the Medicine

Cardizem CD may be taken with or without meals, once a day.

Do not stop taking Cardizem CD suddenly, as this could lead to complications. Your doctor will tell you how to taper off gradually if you no longer need this medication.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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