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Verapamil

Verapamil

What is verapamil?

Verapamil is a calcium channel blocker. It works by relaxing the muscles of your heart and blood vessels.

Verapamil is used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure), angina (chest pain), and certain heart rhythm disorders.

Verapamil may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Why is this medication prescribed?

Verapamil is used to treat high blood pressure and to control angina (chest pain). The immediate-release tablets are also used alone or with other medications to prevent and treat irregular heartbeats. Verapamil is in a class of medications called calcium-channel blockers. It works by relaxing the blood vessels so the heart does not have to pump as hard. It also increases the supply of blood and oxygen to the heart and slows electrical activity in the heart to control the heart rate.

High blood pressure is a common condition and when not treated, can cause damage to the brain, heart, blood vessels, kidneys and other parts of the body. Damage to these organs may cause heart disease, a heart attack, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure, loss of vision, and other problems. In addition to taking medication, making lifestyle changes will also help to control your blood pressure. These changes include eating a diet that is low in fat and salt, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising at least 30 minutes most days, not smoking, and using alcohol in moderation.

How should this medicine be used?

Verapamil comes as a tablet, an extended-release (long-acting) tablet, and an extended-release (long-acting) capsule to take by mouth. The regular tablet is usually taken three to four times a day. The extended-release tablets and capsules are usually taken once or twice a day. Take verapamil at around the same time(s) every day. Certain verapamil products should be taken in the morning and others at bedtime. Ask your doctor what the best time is for you to take your medication. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take verapamil exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

Swallow the extended-release tablets and capsules whole. Do not chew or crush them. Ask your pharmacist if the tablets may be split in half, as the instructions vary by product.

What are side effects associated with using verapamil?

Side effects associated with use of Verapamil, include the following:

  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Increased liver enzymes
  • Indigestion
  • Low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Nausea
  • Rash
  • Shortness of breath

Important warnings

Heart problems warning: Avoid taking verapamil if you have serious damage to the left side of your heart or moderate to severe heart failure. Also, avoid taking it if you have any degree of heart failure and are receiving a beta blocker drug.

Dizziness warning: Verapamil may cause your blood pressure to drop below normal levels. This may cause you to feel dizzy.

Dosage warning: Your doctor will determine the right dose for you and may increase it gradually. Verapamil takes a long time to break down in your body, and you may not see an effect right away. Don’t take more than prescribed. Taking more than the recommended dosage won’t make it work better for you.

Storage

Store in temperatures from 59–77°F (15–25°C).

Protect the medication from light.

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