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Cardizem (Generic Diltiazem)

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Why is this medication prescribed?

Cardizem is a brand name for the medication diltiazem, which belongs to a class of drugs called calcium channel blockers. It is primarily prescribed for the treatment of high blood pressure (hypertension) and certain types of chest pain (angina pectoris). Additionally, it may be used to control certain heart rhythm disorders, such as atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter.

How should this medicine be used?

Here’s how Cardizem (diltiazem) is commonly used:

  • Dosage: The dosage of Cardizem prescribed by your healthcare provider will depend on your medical condition, response to treatment, and other factors. It’s important to take the medication exactly as directed.
  • Administration: Cardizem is typically taken orally in the form of extended-release capsules or tablets. Follow the instructions provided by your healthcare provider or pharmacist regarding the dosage and administration schedule.
  • Timing: Cardizem is usually taken once or twice daily, with or without food. It’s essential to take the medication consistently at the same time(s) each day to maintain steady levels in your bloodstream and achieve optimal effectiveness.
  • Swallowing: Swallow the extended-release capsules or tablets whole with a full glass of water. Do not crush, chew, or break the capsules or tablets, as this can alter the medication’s release mechanism and may result in an increased risk of side effects or decreased effectiveness.
  • Do not suddenly stop: Do not stop taking Cardizem without consulting your healthcare provider, even if you feel well. Suddenly stopping the medication can lead to rebound hypertension (a sudden increase in blood pressure) or other adverse effects. Your healthcare provider may need to gradually reduce your dosage before discontinuing the medication.
  • Regular monitoring: Your healthcare provider may periodically monitor your blood pressure, heart rate, and other vital signs while you are taking Cardizem to assess the medication’s effectiveness and adjust your treatment regimen as needed.

It’s crucial to follow your healthcare provider’s instructions and attend all scheduled appointments while taking Cardizem to ensure safe and effective treatment. If you have any questions or concerns about how to use this medication, don’t hesitate to discuss them with your healthcare provider or pharmacist.

Other uses for this medicine

Other uses for Cardizem might include:

  • Control of Rapid Heart Rate (Tachycardia): In some cases, Cardizem may be prescribed to control rapid heart rates, particularly atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter.
  • Migraine Prevention: Some studies suggest that calcium channel blockers like Cardizem may help prevent migraines, particularly those associated with aura.
  • Raynaud’s Phenomenon: Cardizem may be used off-label to manage symptoms of Raynaud’s phenomenon, a condition characterized by cold fingers and toes due to narrowed blood vessels.

What special precautions should I follow?

Regarding special precautions for using Cardizem:

  • Allergies: Before taking Cardizem, inform your healthcare provider if you have any known allergies to diltiazem or other medications. Allergic reactions to Cardizem are rare but can occur.
  • Medical history: Inform your healthcare provider about your complete medical history, including any pre-existing conditions or other medications you are taking. Certain medical conditions, such as heart failure, liver disease, kidney disease, or certain heart rhythm disorders, may require special monitoring or dosage adjustments when taking Cardizem.
  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding: If you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding, discuss the potential risks and benefits of taking Cardizem with your healthcare provider. Cardizem should only be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding if the potential benefits outweigh the potential risks to the fetus or infant.
  • Drug interactions: Cardizem may interact with other medications, including certain antibiotics, antifungal medications, HIV protease inhibitors, and certain antidepressants, among others. Inform your healthcare provider about all medications (including over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and supplements) you are taking to avoid potential interactions.
  • Grapefruit: Avoid consuming grapefruit or grapefruit juice while taking Cardizem, as it can interfere with the metabolism of the medication and increase the risk of side effects.
  • Alcohol: Limit alcohol consumption while taking Cardizem, as it may increase the risk of certain side effects such as dizziness or drowsiness.
  • Driving and operating machinery: Cardizem may cause dizziness, drowsiness, or blurred vision in some individuals. Use caution when driving, operating machinery, or engaging in activities that require mental alertness until you know how Cardizem affects you.

Always follow your healthcare provider’s instructions and recommendations for using Cardizem, and don’t hesitate to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with them.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

There are typically no specific dietary restrictions associated with using Cardizem. However, maintaining a healthy and balanced diet low in sodium and saturated fats can help support overall cardiovascular health and complement the effects of the medication.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

  • If you miss a dose of Cardizem, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it’s almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule.
  • Do not double the dose to catch up. Taking too much Cardizem at once can increase the risk of side effects.
  • If you’re unsure about what to do, or if you frequently forget doses, consult your doctor or pharmacist for guidance on managing your medication schedule effectively.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Cardizem (diltiazem) may cause side effects in some individuals, although not everyone experiences them. Common side effects of Cardizem may include:

  • Dizziness: Feeling lightheaded or dizzy is a common side effect of Cardizem. This may occur particularly when standing up from a sitting or lying position.
  • Headache: Some individuals may experience headaches while taking Cardizem. These headaches may range from mild to moderate in severity.
  • Flushing: Cardizem may cause flushing or a feeling of warmth in the face, neck, or chest.
  • Weakness or fatigue: Some people may feel weak or fatigued while taking Cardizem, especially when starting the medication or with changes in dosage.
  • Swelling: Cardizem may cause swelling of the ankles, feet, or hands, known as peripheral edema.
  • Constipation or gastrointestinal upset: Some individuals may experience constipation, nausea, or other gastrointestinal discomfort while taking Cardizem.
  • Bradycardia: Cardizem may cause a slower than normal heart rate (bradycardia) in some individuals.
  • Rash or itching: Rarely, Cardizem may cause skin rash or itching as a side effect.
  • Other side effects: Less common side effects of Cardizem may include palpitations, shortness of breath, blurred vision, or mood changes.

It’s important to note that this is not a comprehensive list of side effects, and other side effects may occur. Additionally, some side effects may be serious and require medical attention. If you experience any severe or persistent side effects while taking Cardizem, contact your healthcare provider promptly.

Furthermore, individual responses to medications can vary, so not everyone will experience the same side effects. If you have concerns about side effects or experience any unusual symptoms while taking Cardizem, discuss them with your healthcare provider. They can provide guidance on managing side effects and may adjust your treatment regimen if necessary.

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?

Storage and disposal:


  • Keep Cardizem tablets or capsules at room temperature, away from moisture and heat.
  • Store it in a tightly closed container, out of reach of children and pets.
  • Avoid storing it in the bathroom, as moisture and humidity can affect its stability.
  • If you’re using the oral suspension form of Cardizem, follow the storage instructions provided by your pharmacist.


  • If you have leftover Cardizem that you no longer need or that has expired, don’t flush it down the toilet or pour it down the drain unless instructed to do so.
  • Instead, check with your pharmacist or local waste disposal company for guidance on how to properly dispose of medication. Many communities have drug take-back programs or special disposal instructions for medications.

In case of emergency/overdose

  • If you suspect an overdose of Cardizem, or if someone has ingested it accidentally, call your local poison control center or emergency medical services immediately.
  • Symptoms of overdose may include dizziness, weakness, fainting, slow heartbeat, difficulty breathing, or seizures.
  • While waiting for medical help, if the person is conscious, you can try to keep them calm and monitor their vital signs.

What other information should I know?

  • Regular Check-ups: It’s important to attend regular check-ups with your doctor while taking Cardizem to monitor your blood pressure, heart rate, and overall health.
  • Missed Dose: If you miss a dose of Cardizem, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it’s almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.
  • Side Effects: Be aware of potential side effects of Cardizem, such as dizziness, headache, constipation, or swelling of the ankles or feet. If you experience any unusual or severe symptoms, contact your doctor.
  • Blood Pressure Monitoring: If you’re taking Cardizem for high blood pressure, you may need to monitor your blood pressure at home regularly. Your doctor can advise you on how often to check and what your target blood pressure range should be.

Always follow your doctor’s instructions and consult them or a pharmacist if you have any questions or concerns about storing, disposing of, or using Cardizem.

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