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Verapamil Classification

verapamil classification

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.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before taking verapamil,

tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to verapamil, any other medications, or any ingredients in verapamil. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.

tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, and nutritional supplements you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: alpha blockers such as prazosin (Minipress); antifungals such as itraconazole (Onmel, Sporanox) and ketoconazole (Nizoral); aspirin; beta blockers such as atenolol (Tenormin, in Tenoretic), metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL, in Dutoprol), nadolol (Corgard, in Corzide).

 propranolol (Inderal, Innopran, in Inderide), and timolol (Blocadren, in Timolide); carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Epitol, Equetro, Tegretol); cimetidine (Tagamet); clarithromycin (Biaxin, in Prevpac); cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune); digoxin (Lanoxin); disopyramide (Norpace); diuretics (''water pills''); erythromycin (E.E.S., Eryc, Erythrocin); flecainide; certain HIV protease inhibitors such as indinavir (Crixivan), nelfinavir (Viracept), and ritonavir (Norvir, in Kaletra); quinidine (in Nuedexta); lithium (Lithobid); medications to treat high blood pressure; nefazodone; phenobarbital; pioglitazone (Actos, in Duetact, in Oseni); rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane); telithromycin (Ketek); and theophylline (Theochron, Theolair, Uniphyl).

Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects. Many other medications may also interact with verapamil, so be sure to tell your doctor about all the medications you are taking, even those that do not appear on this list.

tell your doctor what herbal products you are taking.

tell your doctor if you have or have ever had narrowing or blockage of your digestive system or any other condition that causes food to move through your digestive system more slowly; heart failure; heart, liver, or kidney disease; muscular dystrophy (inherited disease that causes gradual weakening of muscles); or myasthenia gravis (condition that causes certain muscles to weaken).

tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking verapamil, call your doctor.

if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell your doctor or dentist that you are taking verapamil.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Talk to your doctor about eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice while taking this medicine.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Verapamil may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • constipation
  • heartburn
  • dizziness or lightheadedness
  • headache

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