You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking Cartia XT if you have:
- Heart disease, including congestive heart failure
- An irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia), including sick sinus syndrome
- Liver disease, including liver failure or cirrhosis
- Kidney disease
- Low blood pressure
- Any allergies, including allergies to food, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
- Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant (see Diltiazem and Pregnancy)
- Breastfeeding (see Diltiazem and Breastfeeding).
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about all other medicines you are taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
(Click Cartia XT Warnings and Precautions to learn more, including information on who should not take the drug.)
Cartia XT is part of a class of drugs called calcium channel blockers. It helps slow down the rate at which calcium moves into your heart and blood vessel walls. This, in turn, helps to relax the vessels, which allows better blood flow and helps to lower blood pressure. This also makes it easier for the heart to pump blood.
There are two basic types of calcium channel blockers: dihydropyridine and non-dihydropyridine. The most important difference between the two is that non-dihydropyridine calcium channel blockers can slow down the heart rate, while dihydropyridine calcium channel blockers do not. Cartia XT is a non-dihydropyridine calcium channel blocker, which means that it can decrease the heart rate, which makes it useful for certain types of irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias).