Diltiazem Precautions and Warnings
Before starting treatment with diltiazem, precautions and warnings should be fully understood to avoid any possible complications. For example, diltiazem is not suitable for everyone. Before taking diltiazem, you should tell your healthcare provider if you have heart disease, low blood pressure, kidney disease, or liver disease. Warnings and precautions also extend to people who have certain allergies and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking diltiazem 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
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about any other medicines you are taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Some of the warnings and precautions to be aware of with diltiazem include:
- Diltiazem can slow down the heart rate. This can be a problem in people who have certain types of arrhythmias or in people who take other medications that slow down the heart rate.
- Diltiazem should be used with caution in people with congestive heart failure (CHF). Diltiazem can cause fluid retention (edema), which can be especially dangerous in people with CHF.
- Diltiazem can lower your blood pressure too much. Be sure to let your healthcare provider know if you have signs of low blood pressure, including dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting.
- Diltiazem can increase liver enzymes (diagnosed using a blood test), which may be a sign of liver damage.
- Diltiazem is metabolized and removed from the body using the liver and kidneys. If you have liver or kidney disease, diltiazem may accumulate in your body. Your healthcare provider should monitor you more closely and may need to decrease your diltiazem dosage.
- Diltiazem can interact with a number of medicines (see Diltiazem Drug Interactions).
- Diltiazem is considered a pregnancy Category C medication. This means that it may not be safe to use during pregnancy. Talk to your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of using diltiazem during pregnancy (see Diltiazem and Pregnancy for more information).
- Diltiazem does pass through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start breastfeeding, be sure to talk with your healthcare provider about using diltiazem (see Diltiazem and Breastfeeding for more information).