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Verapamil Drug Class

verapamil drug class

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.

How should I take verapamil?

Take verapamil exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose. Do not use this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Do not crush, chew, or break an extended-release tablet or capsule. Swallow it whole.

If you have trouble swallowing an extended-release capsule whole, ask your doctor or pharmacist if it is safe for you to open the capsule and sprinkle the medicine into a spoonful of applesauce to make swallowing easier. Swallow this mixture right away without chewing. Do not save the mixture for later use. Discard the empty capsule.

Your blood pressure will need to be checked often. Your kidney or liver function may also need to be checked.

If you need surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time that you are using this medicine.

You should not stop using verapamil suddenly. Stopping suddenly may make your condition worse.

What should I avoid while taking verapamil?

If you also take disopyramide, avoid taking it within 48 hours before or 24 hours after you take verapamil.

Verapamil may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert.

Avoid getting up too fast from a sitting or lying position, or you may feel dizzy. Get up slowly and steady yourself to prevent a fall.

Drinking alcohol can further lower your blood pressure and may increase certain side effects of this medicine.

Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may interact with verapamil and lead to potentially dangerous effects. Discuss the use of grapefruit products with your doctor.

Verapamil side effects

  • Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to verapamil: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Call your doctor at once if you have:
  • chest pain, fast or slow heart rate
  • a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;
  • shortness of breath (even with mild exertion), swelling, rapid weight gain;
  • lung problems - anxiety, sweating, pale skin, wheezing, gasping for breath, cough with foamy mucus; or
  • liver problems - loss of appetite, upper stomach pain, tiredness, easy bruising or bleeding, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Common verapamil side effects may include:

  • constipation;
  • headache, dizziness; or
  • abnormal liver function tests.

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