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Cardizem SR (Generic Diltiazem)

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Why is this medication prescribed?

Cardizem SR is prescribed primarily for the treatment of high blood pressure (hypertension) and certain heart rhythm disorders, such as atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter. It belongs to a class of medications called calcium channel blockers, which work by relaxing blood vessels and slowing the heart rate, thereby reducing blood pressure and improving blood flow.

How should this medicine be used?

Cardizem SR, or diltiazem sustained-release, is typically prescribed for the treatment of hypertension (high blood pressure) or certain heart rhythm disorders like atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter. The dosage and administration of Cardizem SR should be directed by a healthcare professional and tailored to individual patient needs. Here’s a general overview of how it is typically used:

  • Dosage: The dosage of Cardizem SR varies depending on the condition being treated and the individual’s response to the medication. It’s usually started at a low dose and gradually increased to achieve the desired therapeutic effect while minimizing side effects.
  • Administration: Cardizem SR is taken orally, usually once daily. It can be taken with or without food, but it’s essential to take it consistently either with or without meals. The tablet should be swallowed whole with a glass of water and should not be chewed, crushed, or split unless directed by a healthcare provider.
  • Timing: It’s essential to take Cardizem SR at the same time each day to maintain a consistent level of the medication in the body. This helps optimize its effectiveness in controlling blood pressure or heart rhythm.
  • Monitoring: Regular monitoring of blood pressure or heart rhythm is typically required while taking Cardizem SR. This helps healthcare providers assess the medication’s effectiveness and make any necessary adjustments to the dosage or treatment plan.
  • Duration of Use: Cardizem SR is usually taken long-term to manage chronic conditions like hypertension or heart rhythm disorders. Stopping the medication suddenly can lead to a rebound increase in blood pressure or worsening of heart rhythm disturbances, so it’s essential to continue taking it as prescribed unless instructed otherwise by a healthcare provider.
  • Adherence: It’s crucial to adhere to the prescribed dosage and schedule for taking Cardizem SR. Missing doses or taking more than the prescribed amount can affect its effectiveness and increase the risk of side effects.
  • Consultation: If there are any questions or concerns about how to take Cardizem SR or if experiencing any side effects, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare provider promptly for guidance and adjustment of the treatment plan if necessary.

As always, individual circumstances may vary, so it’s essential to follow the specific instructions provided by a healthcare professional regarding the use of Cardizem SR.

Other uses for this medicine

Cardizem SR (diltiazem sustained-release) is primarily prescribed for the treatment of hypertension (high blood pressure) and certain heart rhythm disorders like atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter. However, it may also be used for other off-label purposes under the guidance of a healthcare professional. Some of these off-label uses might include the treatment of certain types of chest pain (angina) or migraine headaches.

What special precautions should I follow?

Special precautions should be taken when using Cardizem SR, and it’s essential to follow the advice of your healthcare provider closely. Here are some key precautions to consider:

  • Allergies: Before taking Cardizem SR, inform your doctor about any allergies you have, especially if you have a known allergy to diltiazem or other medications.
  • Medical History: Provide your doctor with a comprehensive medical history, especially if you have a history of certain conditions such as heart failure, liver disease, kidney disease, or certain heart rhythm disorders. These conditions may affect how Cardizem SR is prescribed or whether it is suitable for you.
  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: If you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding, discuss the potential risks and benefits of using Cardizem SR with your doctor. It’s essential to weigh the potential benefits to the mother against any potential risks to the fetus or infant.
  • Drug Interactions: Cardizem SR may interact with other medications, including over-the-counter drugs, herbal supplements, and vitamins. Inform your doctor about all the medications and supplements you are currently taking to avoid potential interactions.
  • Grapefruit Interaction: Avoid consuming grapefruit or grapefruit juice while taking Cardizem SR, as it can interfere with the metabolism of the medication and increase the risk of side effects.
  • Driving and Operating Machinery: Cardizem SR may cause dizziness or drowsiness in some people. Avoid driving or operating heavy machinery until you know how this medication affects you.
  • Alcohol: Limit alcohol consumption while taking Cardizem SR, as it can potentiate the dizziness or drowsiness caused by the medication.
  • Monitoring: Your doctor may need to monitor your blood pressure, heart rate, and liver function regularly while you are taking Cardizem SR to ensure it is working effectively and not causing any adverse effects.
  • Dosage Adjustments: Dosage adjustments may be necessary if you have certain medical conditions or are taking other medications. Never adjust your dosage without consulting your doctor first.
  • Emergency Situations: In the event of a medical emergency, such as a severe drop in blood pressure or a rapid heart rate, seek immediate medical attention and inform the healthcare provider treating you that you are taking Cardizem SR.

By following these precautions and guidelines, you can help ensure the safe and effective use of Cardizem SR under the supervision of your healthcare provider.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

There are no specific dietary restrictions for Cardizem SR. However, maintaining a healthy diet low in sodium and rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can complement the medication’s effectiveness in managing hypertension.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

If you miss a dose of Cardizem SR, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it’s close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your regular dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up. If you’re unsure about what to do, consult your doctor or pharmacist for guidance. It’s important to maintain a consistent dosing schedule to ensure the medication’s effectiveness.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Cardizem SR (diltiazem sustained-release) may cause various side effects, although not everyone experiences them. Common side effects include:

  • Dizziness: Feeling lightheaded or unsteady.
  • Headache: Mild to moderate headaches are common.
  • Flushing: A sensation of warmth or redness of the skin.
  • Constipation: Difficulty passing stools or infrequent bowel movements.
  • Nausea: Feeling queasy or having an upset stomach.
  • Fatigue: Feeling tired or lacking energy.
  • Edema: Swelling in the legs, ankles, or feet due to fluid retention.
  • Bradycardia: A slower than normal heart rate.
  • Hypotension: Low blood pressure, which can cause dizziness or fainting.
  • Rash: Skin irritation or allergic reactions may occur.

Less common but more severe side effects may include:

  • Heart Block: A disruption in the heart’s electrical signals, leading to a slow or irregular heartbeat.
  • Heart Failure: Especially in individuals with pre-existing heart conditions.
  • Liver Problems: Elevated liver enzymes or liver damage.
  • Allergic Reactions: Severe allergic reactions like rash, itching, swelling, severe dizziness, or trouble breathing.

If you experience any severe or persistent side effects while taking Cardizem SR, it’s essential to seek medical attention promptly. Additionally, if you have any concerns about the side effects you’re experiencing, consult your doctor or pharmacist for guidance. They may adjust your dosage or recommend alternative treatments to minimize side effects while still effectively managing your condition.

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

Storage and disposal of Cardizem SR:

  • Storage: Store Cardizem SR at room temperature away from light and moisture. Avoid storing it in the bathroom. Keep the medication out of reach of children and pets.
  • Disposal: Dispose of Cardizem SR properly according to local regulations or guidelines. Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal facility for proper disposal instructions.

In case of emergency/overdose

  • Seek Medical Help: If you suspect an overdose of Cardizem SR or experience severe symptoms such as fainting, difficulty breathing, or loss of consciousness, seek immediate medical attention by calling emergency services or visiting the nearest emergency room.
  • Symptom Management: While waiting for medical help, if the person is conscious and able to swallow, giving activated charcoal may help absorb the medication in the stomach. However, do not attempt to induce vomiting unless instructed to do so by medical personnel.

What other information should I know?

  • Regular Monitoring: Regularly monitor your blood pressure and heart rate as directed by your doctor while taking Cardizem SR.
  • Follow-up Appointments: Attend all scheduled follow-up appointments with your doctor to monitor your response to the medication and make any necessary adjustments to your treatment plan.
  • Medication Compliance: Take Cardizem SR exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not adjust your dosage or stop taking the medication without consulting your doctor first.
  • Interactions: Inform your doctor about all medications, supplements, and herbal products you are taking, as they may interact with Cardizem SR.
  • Lifestyle Modifications: Follow a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet, regular exercise, weight management, and stress reduction techniques, to complement the effects of Cardizem SR in managing hypertension or heart rhythm disorders.
  • Medical Alert: Wear a medical alert bracelet or carry a medical identification card indicating that you are taking Cardizem SR in case of emergencies.

By following these guidelines and being informed about the proper storage, disposal, and management of Cardizem SR, you can ensure its safe and effective use in managing your condition.

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