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What is Verapamil?
Verapamil belongs to a group of drugs called calcium channel blockers. It functions by relaxing the muscles of your heart and blood vessels and used primarily for the treatment of hypertension or high blood pressure, angina (chest pain), and certain types of heart rhythm disorders. It may also be used for conditions not listed here.
Verapamil is sold under various trade names, some of which are Calan and Calaptin (made by HOECHST).
Important Information about Verapamil
Do not use Verapamil (Calan, Calaptin) if you have a known allergy to it, or if you have some serious heart conditions such as ‘sick sinus syndrome’ or ‘AV block’ (unless you have a pacemaker), hypotension (low blood pressure), or if you have recently had a heart attack. If you are taking Verapamil for hypertension, you may have to take it for the rest of your life. High blood pressure often doesn’t have any symptom.
Prior to taking Verapamil, inform your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have kidney disease, liver disease, congestive heart failure, or a nerve-muscle disorder such as myasthenia gravis or muscular dystrophy.
There are many drugs that can interact with Verapamil. Inform your doctor about any medication which you may be using including prescription, OTC, vitamin, and herbal products. Never start a new medication without proper medical advice. Verapamil may impact your thinking capability and reflexes. Take extra care while driving or other such activities that require a high level of mental awareness and alertness.
Take Verapamil strictly as directed by your doctor. Do not alter the course or stop taking it suddenly. Your condition may deteriorate if you do not take it as directed. This medicine may be just a part of the full line of treatment which may also include other medicines, diet restrictions, or exercises. Always follow your doctor’s directions carefully.
Verapamil is an FDA pregnancy category C drug. It is known whether this medicine can harm an unborn baby if taken during pregnancy. Verapamil can pass into breast milk and harm a nursing baby. Consult your doctor before taking Verapamil if any of these cases apply to you.
Before taking Verapamil
Before taking Verapamil (Calan, Calaptin), take care of all precautions mentioned above. Discuss them with your doctor and clear all doubts which you may have about this drug.
How should I take Verapamil?
Take Verapamil strictly according to your doctor’s direction or according to the instructions on the medication label. Do not alter the dosage unless your doctor advises you to do so. Also, do not take this medication after the prescribed period is over. All medications come with a patient leaflet. Refer the instructions in them for detailed information on that particular medication. Verapamil can be taken with or without food. Always store this medicine in a cool and dry place.
What if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose of Verapamil, take it as soon as you remember. Don’t take the missed dose if the time to take the next dose is almost up. Taking multiple doses near to each other can lead to excess medication in your body which can be harmful.
What if I overdose?
In case of an overdose of Verapamil, get emergency medical attention or call the Doctor Immediately. Overdose may result in slow heartbeat, or fainting.
Things and Activities to avoid while taking Verapamil
Verapamil may impact your thinking capability and reflexes. Take extra care while driving or other such activities that require a high level of mental awareness andalertness. Avoid or limit intake of grapefruit and its products. Also avoid alcohol as alcohol can further decrease your blood pressure. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more restrictions while using this medicine.
Verapamil Side Effects
Some common side effects of Verapamil are reduced heart rate, dizziness, nausea, headache, or fatigue. However, if any of these side effects persist or deteriorate, or if you get serious side effects or allergic reactions like rash, itching, swelling of face, tongue, or throat, or breathing trouble, unusual fatigue, sudden or unexplained weight gain, severe dizziness, severe stomach or abdominal pain, dark urine, yellowing of eyes and skin, persistent nausea or vomiting, seek medical attention immediately.
The side effects mentioned above are not the only ones that you may experience or witness due to Verapamil. If you get any serious side effects due to this medication, contact your doctor right away.
Verapamil Dosing Information
Verapamil dosage may depend on a range of factors like age, sex, drug allergies, or seriousness of the condition among several other factors. Your dosage will be determined by your doctor after examining you properly. Remember to follow your doctor’s advice properly for best results.
Interaction with other drugs
The following drugs can interact with Verapamil: busiprone, cimetidine, clonidine, cyclosporine, digoxin, lithium, lovastatin, theophylline, certain antibiotics like clarithomycin, erythromycin, or others, anti fungal medicines, beta blockers, cancer medicines, cholesterol lowering drugs, heart rhythm medicines, HIV drugs, sedatives, or seizure medicines
However, these are not the only drugs that can interact with Verapamil. There may be others. Let your doctor know in advance if you use any medicines or related products such as OTC medicines, vitamin pills, or herbal products. Never start a new medication without proper medical advice.