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Cardizem LA (Generic Diltiazem)

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Why is this medication prescribed?

Cardizem LA is a medication primarily prescribed to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) and chest pain (angina). It belongs to a class of drugs called calcium channel blockers. Cardizem LA works by relaxing blood vessels and slowing the heart rate, which helps to improve blood flow and reduce the workload on the heart.

How should this medicine be used?

Cardizem LA (diltiazem) is typically used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) and chest pain (angina). It’s important to use this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Here’s a general guideline on how Cardizem LA should be used:

  • Dosage: Take Cardizem LA exactly as prescribed by your doctor. The dosage will vary depending on your medical condition, response to treatment, and other factors. Do not change your dosage unless instructed by your doctor.
  • Administration: Cardizem LA is usually taken orally once daily. It’s best to take it in the morning, with or without food. Swallow the extended-release capsule whole with a full glass of water. Do not crush, chew, or break the capsule, as this can cause the entire dose to be released at once, increasing the risk of side effects.
  • Consistency: Take Cardizem LA at the same time each day to maintain a consistent level of the medication in your bloodstream. This helps ensure its effectiveness.
  • Do Not Skip Doses: If you miss a dose, 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.
  • Do Not Suddenly Stop: Do not stop taking Cardizem LA abruptly without consulting your doctor, even if you feel better. Suddenly stopping this medication can lead to worsening of your condition. Your doctor may need to gradually reduce your dose to safely discontinue the medication.
  • Regular Monitoring: Your doctor may periodically monitor your blood pressure and heart function while you’re taking Cardizem LA to ensure it’s working effectively and to check for any potential side effects.
  • Follow Doctor’s Instructions: Always follow your doctor’s instructions regarding the use of Cardizem LA. If you have any questions or concerns about how to use this medication, don’t hesitate to discuss them with your healthcare provider.

Remember, Cardizem LA is just one component of a comprehensive treatment plan for high blood pressure or chest pain. Lifestyle changes such as maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, managing stress, and avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol use are also important for managing these conditions.

Other uses for this medicine

Aside from its primary uses in treating high blood pressure (hypertension) and chest pain (angina), Cardizem LA (diltiazem) may also be prescribed for other conditions. Some off-label uses of Cardizem LA include managing certain types of irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias) and preventing migraines.

What special precautions should I follow?

Special precautions should be taken when using Cardizem LA to ensure its safe and effective use:

  • Medical History: Before starting Cardizem LA, inform your doctor about your complete medical history, especially if you have any heart conditions (such as heart failure or atrioventricular block), liver disease, kidney disease, or low blood pressure (hypotension).
  • Allergies: Inform your doctor if you have any allergies to diltiazem or any other medications.
  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: If you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding, discuss the risks and benefits of using Cardizem LA with your doctor. It’s important to weigh the potential risks to the unborn baby or nursing infant against the benefits of treatment.
  • Interactions: Inform your doctor about all the medications, supplements, and herbal products you are currently taking, as Cardizem LA may interact with certain drugs, including other blood pressure medications, beta-blockers, digoxin, statins, and some antibiotics.
  • Grapefruit: Avoid consuming grapefruit or grapefruit juice while taking Cardizem LA, as it can interact with the medication and increase the risk of side effects.
  • Dizziness: Cardizem LA may cause dizziness or lightheadedness, especially when you first start taking it or when the dosage is adjusted. Avoid driving, operating machinery, or performing tasks that require alertness until you know how this medication affects you.
  • Alcohol: Limit alcohol consumption while taking Cardizem LA, as it can further lower your blood pressure and increase the risk of side effects.
  • Monitoring: Your doctor may regularly monitor your blood pressure, heart rate, liver function, and kidney function while you’re taking Cardizem LA to ensure its safety and effectiveness.
  • Emergency Situations: In case of a medical emergency, such as severe dizziness, fainting, or difficulty breathing, seek immediate medical attention.

Always follow your doctor’s instructions and advice regarding the use of Cardizem LA, and don’t hesitate to discuss any questions or concerns you may have about this medication.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Regarding dietary instructions, there are no specific dietary restrictions associated with Cardizem LA. However, maintaining a healthy diet low in saturated fats, cholesterol, and sodium can complement the treatment of high blood pressure and heart conditions.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

If you forget to take a dose of Cardizem LA, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it’s almost time for your next scheduled dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not double up on doses to make up for a missed one, as this can increase the risk of side effects.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Cardizem LA (diltiazem) may cause side effects, although not everyone experiences them. Common side effects include:

  • Dizziness: Feeling lightheaded or dizzy is a common side effect, especially when standing up from a sitting or lying position.
  • Headache: Some people may experience headaches while taking Cardizem LA.
  • Flushing: You may notice reddening or flushing of the skin, particularly in the face and neck.
  • Weakness or Fatigue: Feeling weak or fatigued is a possible side effect of Cardizem LA.
  • Nausea or Vomiting: Some individuals may experience stomach discomfort, nausea, or vomiting.
  • Constipation or Diarrhea: Changes in bowel habits, including constipation or diarrhea, can occur with Cardizem LA use.
  • Swelling: Swelling of the ankles, feet, or hands may occur due to fluid retention.
  • Rash: Some people may develop a rash or itching while taking Cardizem LA.
  • Palpitations: You may experience sensations of rapid, fluttering, or irregular heartbeats.
  • Bradycardia: In some cases, Cardizem LA may cause a slow heart rate, known as bradycardia.
  • Shortness of Breath: Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath may occur, particularly in individuals with pre-existing lung conditions.
  • Liver Function Changes: Rarely, Cardizem LA may cause changes in liver function tests.
  • Allergic Reactions: Allergic reactions to Cardizem LA are rare but can include symptoms such as rash, itching, swelling, severe dizziness, or trouble breathing. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience any signs of an allergic reaction.

It’s essential to report any unusual or bothersome side effects to your doctor. Additionally, if you experience severe side effects or signs of an allergic reaction, seek prompt medical attention. Your doctor may adjust your dosage or recommend alternative treatments to minimize side effects.

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

Storage and Disposal:


  • Room Temperature: Store Cardizem LA capsules at room temperature away from light and moisture. Avoid storing them in the bathroom.
  • Keep Out of Reach: Keep Cardizem LA out of the reach of children and pets to prevent accidental ingestion.
  • Original Container: Store the medication in its original container to protect it from moisture and contamination.
  • Avoid Extreme Conditions: Avoid storing Cardizem LA in extreme temperatures, such as excessive heat or cold.


  • Follow Instructions: Follow any specific disposal instructions provided by your pharmacist or healthcare provider.
  • Do Not Flush: Do not flush Cardizem LA down the toilet unless instructed to do so. Proper disposal helps prevent environmental contamination.
  • Medication Take-Back Programs: Check with your local pharmacy or healthcare facility for medication take-back programs that allow safe disposal of unused or expired medications.

In case of emergency/overdose

  • Seek Medical Attention: In case of an overdose or emergency, such as taking too much Cardizem LA, experiencing severe dizziness, fainting, difficulty breathing, or loss of consciousness, seek immediate medical attention or contact a poison control center (1-800-222-1222 in the United States).
  • Symptom Management: Depending on the severity of the overdose, treatment may involve supportive measures to manage symptoms, such as monitoring vital signs and administering intravenous fluids.

What other information should I know?

  • Regular Follow-up: Attend all scheduled appointments with your doctor for regular follow-up assessments of your condition and response to treatment.
  • Lab Tests: Your doctor may order periodic lab tests, including blood pressure monitoring and blood tests, to monitor your response to Cardizem LA and assess for any potential side effects or complications.
  • Avoid Abrupt Discontinuation: Do not stop taking Cardizem LA suddenly without consulting your doctor, as it may lead to rebound effects or worsening of your condition.
  • Medical Alert: Inform healthcare providers, including dentists and emergency responders, that you are taking Cardizem LA, as it may interact with other medications or affect certain medical procedures.
  • Educate Yourself: Learn about the potential side effects and interactions associated with Cardizem LA, and discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor or pharmacist.

By following these storage and disposal guidelines, knowing how to respond to emergencies or overdoses, and staying informed about your medication, you can help ensure the safe and effective use of Cardizem LA.

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