Cardizem is a calcium channel blocker (CCB) your doctor may prescribe to treat angina. When your heart is not receiving enough blood, you may experience episodes of fullness or pain in the center of your chest, perhaps after physical exertion (stable angina) or even at rest (unstable angina). This pain can resemble the typical symptoms of a heart attack and is a warning that you should see your doctor as there could be a possible blockage that increases your risk of a heart attack.
Cardizem or the generic alternative called Diltiazem may increase your ability to exercise and decrease the frequency with which you experience angina attacks but it will not stop an angina attack in progress. The generic alternative is not manufactured by the company that makes the brand product.
When taken as directed, Cardizem blocks the entry of calcium into the cells of your heart and the walls of your blood vessels. This action decreases electrical conduction in your heart, dilates arteries, and reduces the force of contraction of the muscle cells. The result is your heart’s need for more oxygen is lowered as the wide open arteries can now easily carry oxygen-rich blood to your heart. Cardizem is one of the calcium channel blocker drugs that have the greatest effect on your heart and by reducing the contraction’s rate and strength, your heart rate is reduced if it is beating too quickly.
Angina is not a disease but a symptom, or set of symptoms that may occur as a result of physical exertion, extreme temperatures, or eating that increases the demand on your heart. If the stressor is removed and the pain subsides, there is a good possibility that you are experiencing angina and not a heart attack.
Cardizem may also be prescribed to control your heart rate if you have a fast/irregular heartbeat, such as atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation (also called AFib) is a quivering or irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications. In atrial fibrillation, the upper chambers of the heart (the atria) beat irregularly instead of beating effectively to move blood into the ventricles. The most common symptom of atrial fibrillation is a “fluttering” heartbeat.
Advise your doctor if you have kidney disease, liver disease, or congestive heart failure before taking Cardizem. Provide your doctor with a complete list of medications, supplements and vitamins you are taking to determine if Cardizem is the best medication for your situation. If there is a chance you are pregnant or breast feeding, ask about the safety of taking Cardizem during this time.
Hypotension (low blood pressure) may occur while taking Cardizem. Check with your doctor right away if you have the following symptoms: blurred vision, confusion, severe dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up from a lying or sitting position suddenly, sweating, or unusual tiredness or weakness. These symptoms may indicate that an adjustment in the dosage of medication is required. Never share any medications with others.