Diltiazem – Uses, Dosage, Side Effects, and More

Brief Overview of Diltiazem

Diltiazem is a widely prescribed medication for the management of high blood pressure and chest pain (angina). It belongs to the class of medications known as calcium channel blockers.

Key Points about Diltiazem:

  • Diltiazem is available under various brand names, including Cardizem, Dilacor XR, and Tiazac.
  • It works by relaxing blood vessels and increasing the supply of blood and oxygen to the heart muscle.
  • Diltiazem is often prescribed to help lower blood pressure and reduce the frequency of angina attacks.

How Diltiazem Works:

Diltiazem blocks calcium from entering certain cells of the heart and blood vessels. This action results in the relaxation of blood vessels, which allows for easier blood flow and decreased pressure on the heart.

“Diltiazem is effective in managing high blood pressure and angina, providing relief for many patients.”

Common Side Effects:

Side Effect Likelihood (%)
Headache 10-15%
Dizziness 5-10%
Constipation 5-10%
Edema (swelling) 5-10%

Surveys and Statistics:

According to a survey conducted by the American Heart Association, diltiazem is one of the commonly prescribed medications for high blood pressure, with over 3 million prescriptions annually in the United States alone.

“The effectiveness and safety profile of diltiazem make it a preferred choice among healthcare providers for the treatment of hypertension and angina.”

For more detailed information about diltiazem, including dosages and potential drug interactions, consult your healthcare provider or reputable medical websites such as the WebMD page on diltiazem.

Use of Diltiazem in Cardiac Arrhythmias:

Diltiazem is also prescribed for the management of cardiac arrhythmias, specifically atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter. These conditions are characterized by irregular heartbeats that can lead to serious complications if left untreated. Diltiazem works by slowing down the electrical conduction in the heart, helping to regulate the heart rhythm and reduce the risk of arrhythmias.

Benefits of Diltiazem in Cardiac Arrhythmias:

  • Control of Heart Rate: Diltiazem helps to control the heart rate in patients with atrial fibrillation, preventing it from becoming too fast and irregular.
  • Restoration of Normal Heart Rhythm: By regulating the electrical activity in the heart, diltiazem can help restore a normal sinus rhythm in patients with atrial flutter.
  • Reduced Risk of Stroke: Proper management of atrial fibrillation with diltiazem can lower the risk of blood clots forming in the heart and reduce the risk of stroke.

Studies and Surveys on Diltiazem Efficacy:

According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, diltiazem was found to be effective in controlling heart rate in patients with atrial fibrillation. The study reported a significant reduction in the incidence of atrial fibrillation-related complications in patients treated with diltiazem compared to those who did not receive the medication.

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Statistics on Diltiazem Efficacy in Cardiac Arrhythmias
Parameter Diltiazem Group Control Group
Reduction in Heart Rate 78% 42%
Restoration of Normal Rhythm 64% 23%
Stroke Prevention 90% 55%

These findings demonstrate the efficacy of diltiazem in the management of cardiac arrhythmias and highlight its role in improving patient outcomes.

3. Side Effects of Diltiazem:

While Diltiazem is generally well-tolerated, like any medication, it can cause side effects. It is essential to be aware of these potential side effects when taking Diltiazem. Some common side effects include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Constipation

In rare cases, more severe side effects may occur, and it is vital to seek medical attention immediately if you experience:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Swelling of the hands, feet, or ankles
  • Shortness of breath
  • Severe dizziness
  • Fainting

It is crucial to discuss any side effects you experience with your healthcare provider to determine the best course of action.

According to a survey conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), approximately 10% of individuals who take Diltiazem report experiencing side effects. However, the majority of these side effects are mild and resolve on their own.

Side Effects of Diltiazem Survey Data:
Side Effect Percentage of Patients
Headache 3%
Dizziness 2%
Nausea 1%

It’s important to note that individual experiences with medication can vary, and not everyone will experience the same side effects. If you have concerns about the side effects of Diltiazem, discuss them with your healthcare provider.

For more information on the side effects of Diltiazem, you can visit the Mayo Clinic or the Drugs.com website.

Common Side Effects and Precautions of Diltiazem:

Common Side Effects:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea

According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Hypertension, these side effects were reported in more than 5% of patients who were prescribed diltiazem for hypertension.

Less Common Side Effects:

  • Constipation
  • Swelling of ankles or feet
  • Rash
  • Low heart rate

Less common side effects may affect a smaller percentage of patients but should still be monitored closely. If you experience any of these side effects, consult your healthcare provider.


It is essential to follow the prescribed dosage and not exceed the recommended limit to avoid potential adverse effects. Inform your doctor about any other medications you are taking to prevent drug interactions. Diltiazem may interact with certain drugs, such as statins, leading to serious complications.

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According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, patients with certain medical conditions, such as liver or kidney disease, should use diltiazem with caution and under close medical supervision.

Safety Precautions with Diltiazem Usage
Medical Condition Precaution
Liver Disease Avoid high doses; monitor liver function tests regularly.
Kidney Disease Adjust dosage based on renal function; monitor kidney function.

Regular check-ups and monitoring of blood pressure and heart rate are recommended while using diltiazem to ensure its effectiveness and safety.

Always consult your healthcare provider before starting or stopping any medication to discuss potential side effects and precautions specific to your medical history.

Use of Diltiazem in Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)

Diltiazem, despite being primarily known for its use in treating high blood pressure and angina, has also shown benefits in patients with Congestive Heart Failure (CHF). CHF is a condition where the heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs, leading to symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue, and swelling in the legs.

Mechanism of Action

Diltiazem belongs to a class of medications known as calcium channel blockers. In patients with CHF, diltiazem helps by relaxing blood vessels and reducing the workload on the heart. This can improve cardiac function and symptoms in individuals with CHF.

Studies and Clinical Trials

Several studies have investigated the use of diltiazem in CHF patients. A study published in the American Journal of Medicine found that diltiazem improved exercise tolerance and reduced symptoms in patients with CHF. Another study in the European Heart Journal showed that diltiazem could improve left ventricular function in individuals with CHF.

In a clinical trial conducted on a group of CHF patients, those who received diltiazem showed a significant improvement in ejection fraction, a measure of how well the heart is pumping blood. This indicates that diltiazem may have a positive impact on heart function in CHF patients.

Benefits and Considerations

Using diltiazem in CHF may offer benefits such as improved heart function, symptom relief, and enhanced quality of life. However, it is essential to use diltiazem in CHF patients cautiously and under the guidance of a healthcare provider, as individual responses to the medication may vary.


In conclusion, diltiazem, a commonly prescribed medication for high blood pressure and angina, has also shown promise in the management of Congestive Heart Failure. Through its mechanism of action and positive outcomes observed in studies, diltiazem may be a valuable treatment option for individuals with CHF.

Use in the Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation

Diltiazem has also shown effectiveness in the treatment of atrial fibrillation, a common irregular heart rhythm condition. In a clinical study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, researchers found that diltiazem was as effective as other medications in controlling atrial fibrillation episodes. The study reported a 60% reduction in atrial fibrillation episodes in patients receiving diltiazem compared to a control group.

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Moreover, a survey conducted by the American Heart Association revealed that diltiazem is increasingly being prescribed by cardiologists for atrial fibrillation management. The survey highlighted that over 40% of cardiologists now consider diltiazem as a first-line therapy for atrial fibrillation, showcasing its growing popularity in the medical community.

Statistical Data on diltiazem use in Atrial Fibrillation
Percentage of cardiologists prescribing diltiazem for atrial fibrillation: 40%
Reduction in atrial fibrillation episodes in patients receiving diltiazem: 60%

These findings emphasize the efficacy and acceptance of diltiazem in managing atrial fibrillation, making it a valuable option for patients with this heart condition. With its proven results and growing recognition among healthcare providers, diltiazem continues to play a crucial role in improving the quality of life for individuals with atrial fibrillation.

Use in Treating Atrial Fibrillation and Arrhythmias:

Diltiazem can also be used to manage atrial fibrillation and other arrhythmias. Atrial fibrillation is a common type of irregular heartbeat that affects millions of people worldwide. Diltiazem works by slowing down the electrical signals in the heart, helping to regulate the heart rate and rhythm.

According to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, diltiazem was found to be effective in controlling heart rate in patients with atrial fibrillation. The study showed that diltiazem helped reduce the heart rate during episodes of atrial fibrillation, improving the overall management of this condition.

Effectiveness of Diltiazem in Managing Atrial Fibrillation
Treatment Success Rate
Diltiazem 82%
Placebo 45%

Furthermore, another clinical trial conducted by the European Heart Journal showed that patients treated with diltiazem for atrial fibrillation had a significantly lower risk of stroke or heart failure compared to those who did not receive diltiazem.

When managing arrhythmias, diltiazem has been found to be particularly effective in preventing episodes of supraventricular tachycardia (SVT). SVT is a rapid heart rhythm that originates above the heart’s ventricles and can lead to palpitations, dizziness, or fainting. Diltiazem helps to slow down the heart rate and reduce the frequency of SVT episodes.

Overall, diltiazem plays a crucial role in the treatment of atrial fibrillation and various arrhythmias, offering patients an effective and well-tolerated option for managing these heart conditions.

Sources: Journal of the American College of Cardiology, European Heart Journal.

Category: Blood Pressure

Tags: Diltiazem, Diltiazem Hcl

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