What is Cardizem?

Cardizem is a prescription medication used to treat high blood pressure and chest pain. It belongs to a class of drugs called calcium channel blockers (CCBs).

CCBs work by relaxing the muscles of your blood vessels, which lowers your blood pressure and makes it easier for your heart to pump blood. Cardizem is available as an oral tablet and an oral solution.

Cardizem is also available as a generic drug. Generic drugs are typically less expensive than brand-name drugs.

Cardizem

Side Effects

Common side effects of Cardizem include:

dizziness,

lightheadedness,

tiredness,

swollen ankles/feet,

fluid retention,

and constipation.

Cardizem can also cause low blood pressure, which may make you feel dizzy or lightheaded. If you experience these side effects, be sure to sit or lie down until they subside. To avoid dizziness and lightheadedness, get up slowly when rising from a sitting or lying position.

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Mechanism of Action

Cardizem works by relaxing the muscles of your blood vessels, which lowers your blood pressure and makes it easier for your heart to pump blood. It’s a type of drug called a calcium channel blocker (CCB).

Calcium is needed for your muscles to contract. When calcium levels are high, your muscles tighten and your blood pressure rises. CCBs work by blocking the channels that allow calcium into your muscle cells. This decreases the force of your muscle contractions and lowers your blood pressure.

Dosage

Cardizem is available as an oral tablet and an oral solution. It’s usually taken once or twice daily. The oral tablet comes in three strengths: 30 mg, 60 mg, and 90 mg. The oral solution comes in two strengths: 10 mg/mL and 40 mg/mL.

The usual starting dose for Cardizem is 30 mg once daily. Your doctor may increase your dose to 60 mg or 90 mg once daily if needed. They may also give you a lower dose of 10 mg once daily if you have certain medical conditions, such as liver disease.

If you take the oral solution, the standard starting dose is 10 mg/mL once daily. Your doctor may increase your dose to 40 mg/mL once daily if needed.

For high blood pressure, the usual adult dose is 180-240 mg per day, given in divided doses. For chest pain, the usual adult dose is 120-180 mg per day, given in divided doses.

To reduce your risk of side effects, your doctor may start you at a low dose and gradually increase your dose. Follow these directions carefully.

Cardizem is usually taken for 4-8 weeks. If you’re taking Cardizem for chest pain, your doctor may recommend that you continue taking it for up to 12 months.

If you’re taking Cardizem for high blood pressure, your doctor may recommend that you continue taking it even after your blood pressure has gone down. This helps keep your blood pressure from rising again.

If you’re taking Cardizem for both high blood pressure and chest pain, your doctor may recommend that you take it for the rest of your life.

Cardizem can be taken with or without food. If you take Cardizem more than once daily, take it at evenly spaced intervals.

If you miss a dose of Cardizem, take it as soon as possible. If it’s almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue on your regular schedule. Do not take two doses of Cardizem at the same time.

Mechanism of Action

Cardizem works by relaxing the muscles of your blood vessels, which lowers your blood pressure and makes it easier for your heart to pump blood. It’s a type of drug called a calcium channel blocker (CCB).

Calcium is needed for your muscles to contract. When calcium levels are high, your muscles tighten and your blood pressure rises. CCBs work by blocking the channels that allow calcium into your muscle cells. This decreases the force of your muscle contractions and lowers your blood pressure.

Pharmacokinetics

Cardizem is rapidly absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract and has a bioavailability of 50-60%. It undergoes extensive first-pass metabolism in the liver and has an elimination half-life of 1.5-6 hours.

Cardizem is metabolized by the cytochrome P450 (CYP) 450 enzymes, specifically CYP3A4 and CYP2D6. Its metabolites are excreted mainly in the urine.

Alternatives

Alternatives to Cardizem include other CCBs, such as verapamil (Calan) and diltiazem (Cardizem CD, Dilacor XR). These drugs work in a similar way as Cardizem.

If you’re taking Cardizem for chest pain, other options include beta blockers, such as metoprolol (Lopressor) and propranolol (Inderal), and ACE inhibitors, such as lisinopril (Zestril) and enalapril (Vasotec).

If you’re taking Cardizem for high blood pressure, other options include thiazide diuretics, such as hydrochlorothiazide (Microzide), and ACE inhibitors, such as lisinopril (Zestril) and enalapril (Vasotec).

If you have heart failure, other options include ACE inhibitors, such as lisinopril (Zestril) and enalapril (Vasotec), and beta blockers, such as metoprolol (Lopressor) and propranolol (Inderal).

For people with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, other options include beta blockers, such as propranolol (Inderal), and electrical cardioversion.

Interactions

Cardizem may interact with other drugs. To avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all the medications you take, including over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and herbs. Do not start or stop any medications without first talking to your doctor.

Cardizem and Alcohol

You should avoid drinking alcohol while taking Cardizem. Alcohol can increase the risk of Cardizem’s side effects.

Cardizem and Grapefruit Juice

You should avoid grapefruit juice while taking Cardizem. Grapefruit juice can increase the level of Cardizem in your blood and make its side effects more severe.

Cardizem and Pregnancy

Cardizem is a category C pregnancy drug. That means two things:

Research in animals has shown adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug. There haven’t been enough studies done in humans to be certain how the drug might affect the fetus.

You should only take Cardizem if your doctor has determined that the benefits outweigh the risks. If you take Cardizem during pregnancy, your baby could experience serious side effects.