Diltiazem is used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) and prevent chest pain (angina). Lowering high blood pressure helps prevent strokes, heart attacks, and kidney problems. When used regularly, diltiazem can decrease the number and severity of episodes of chest pain from angina. It may help increase your ability to exercise. Diltiazem is called a calcium channel blocker. It works by relaxing blood vessels in the body and heart so blood can flow more easily. Diltiazem also lowers your heart rate. These effects help the heart work less hard and lower blood pressure.
Take this medication by mouth with or without food, usually once daily at the same time or as directed by your doctor. Do not crush or chew extended-release tablets. Doing so can release all of the drug at once, increasing the risk of side effects. Also, do not split the tablets unless they have a score line and your doctor or pharmacist tells you to do so. Swallow the whole or split tablet without crushing or chewing. Depending on your specific brand, take this medication either in the morning or at bedtime as directed. Consult your pharmacist if you have any questions about when to take the medication. Your doctor may gradually increase your dose. Follow your doctor's instructions carefully. The dosage is based on your medical condition, response to treatment, and other medications you may be taking. Be sure to tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products). Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, use it at the same time each day. It is important to continue taking this medication even if you feel well. Most people with high blood pressure do not feel sick. For the treatment of high blood pressure, it may take 2 weeks before you get the full benefit of this drug. This medication must be taken regularly to prevent angina. It should not be used to treat angina when it occurs. Use other medications (such as nitroglycerin placed under the tongue) to relieve an angina attack as directed by your doctor. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for details. Tell your doctor if your condition worsens (for example, your chest pain worsens or your routine blood pressure readings increase).
Dizziness, lightheadedness, weakness, nausea, flushing, constipation, and headache may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly. To lower the risk of dizziness and lightheadedness, get up slowly when rising from a sitting or lying position. Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects. Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: fainting, new or worsening symptoms of heart failure (such as shortness of breath, swelling ankles/feet, unusual tiredness, unusual/sudden weight gain), slow/irregular/pounding/fast heartbeat, mental/mood changes (such as depression, agitation), unusual dreams, severe stomach/abdominal pain, severe constipation, dark urine, persistent nausea/vomiting, yellowing eyes/skin. A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing. This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist. In the US - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch. In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets. Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval. Some products that may interact with this drug include: digoxin, fingolimod. Other medications can affect the removal of diltiazem from your body, which may affect how this medication works. Examples include cimetidine, St. John's wort, azole antifungals such as ketoconazole, macrolide antibiotics such as erythromycin, rifamycins including rifabutin and rifampin. This medication can slow down the removal of other medications from your body, which may affect how they work. Examples of affected drugs include aprepitant/fosaprepitant, asunaprevir, buspirone, colchicine, flibanserin, ivabradine, certain benzodiazepines (triazolam, midazolam), among others. Some products have ingredients that could raise your heart rate or blood pressure. Tell your pharmacist what products you are using, and ask how to use them safely (especially cough-and-cold products, diet aids, or NSAIDs such as ibuprofen/naproxen).
If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.