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Verapamil Er Side Effects

verapamil er side effects

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.

If you can not swallow the extended-release capsules you may carefully open the capsule and sprinkle the entire contents onto a spoonful of applesauce. The applesauce should not be hot, and it should be soft enough to be swallowed without chewing.

Swallow the applesauce immediately without chewing, and then drink a glass of cool water to make sure that you have swallowed all of the medicine. Do not store the mixture for future use.

Your doctor will probably start you on a low dose of verapamil and gradually increase your dose.

Verapamil controls arrhythmias, high blood pressure, and angina but does not cure these conditions. Continue to take verapamil even if you feel well. Do not stop taking verapamil without talking to your doctor.

Who should NOT take this medication?

Do not use verapamil if you:

  • are allergic to verapamil or any ingredients of this medication
  • are suffering from severe congestive heart failure and/or severe left ventricular dysfunction unless it is due to a cause that is treatable by verapamil
  • have a very low heart rate
  • have certain types of abnormal heart rhythms, including atrial flutter or atrial fibrillation and an accessory bypass tract (e.g., Wolff-Parkinson-White, Lown-Ganong-Levine syndromes)
  • have severe low blood pressure
  • have second- or third-degree heart block or sick sinus syndrome

This medication should not be given to people who are in cardiogenic shock or those who are suffering from certain types of complicated heart attack.

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