Information on Tablets A-Z
Brand Names:Calan; Calan SR; Covera-HS; Isoptin; Isoptin SR; Verelan
Medication prescribed:Verapamil is used to treat irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias) and high blood pressure. It relaxes your blood vessels so your heart does not have to pump as hard. It also increases the supply of blood and oxygen to the heart to control chest pain (angina). If taken regularly, verapamil controls chest pain, but it does not stop chest pain once it starts. Your doctor may give you a different medication to take when you have chest pain. This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
How should this medicine be used:Verapamil comes as a regular tablet and as an extended-release (long-acting) tablet and capsule to take by mouth. The regular tablet is usually taken three times a day. The extended-release tablet and capsule are usually taken one or two times a day and should be swallowed whole. Do not chew, divide, or crush the extended-release tablet or capsule. 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. Verapamil controls arrhythmias, high blood pressure, and chest pain (angina) but does not cure them. Continue to take verapamil even if you feel well. Do not stop taking verapamil without talking to your doctor.
Other uses for this medicine:Verapamil is also used sometimes to treat migraine headaches and cardiomyopathy. Talk to your doctor about the possible risks of using this drug for your condition.
Special precautions:Before taking verapamil, tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to verapamil or any other drugs. tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially aspirin, carbamazepine (Tegretol); cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune); fentanyl (Duragesic); heart and blood pressure medications such as beta-blockers, digoxin (Lanoxin), disopyramide (Norpace), flecainide (Tambocor), quinidine (Quinaglute, Quinidex), diuretics ('water pills'), or any other blood pressure lowering medication; lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid); medications to treat depression; medications to treat glaucoma (increased pressure in the eye); phenobarbital; rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane); theophylline (Theo-Dur); and vitamins. tell your doctor if you have or have ever had heart, liver, or kidney disease, muscular dystrophy, or gastrointestinal obstruction (strictures). tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking verapamil, call your doctor. if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell your doctor or dentist that you are taking verapamil. you should know that verapamil may increase the effects of alcohol and make them last longer.
Special dietary instructions:Verapamil may cause an upset stomach. Take verapamil with food or milk. Talk to your doctor before using salt substitutes containing potassium. If your doctor prescribes a low-salt or low-sodium diet, follow these directions carefully.
If I forget a dose:Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects:Although side effects from verapamil are not common, they can occur. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away: constipation dizziness or lightheadedness headache upset stomach heartburn excessive tiredness flushing (feeling of warmth) slow heartbeat vivid, unusual dreams If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately: swelling of the face, eyes, lips, tongue, arms, or legs difficulty breathing or swallowing fainting rash yellowing of the skin or eyes fever increase in frequency or severity of chest pain (angina)
What storage conditions:Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
In case of overdose:In case of overdose, call your local poison control center. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
Other information:Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your blood pressure should be checked regularly to determine your response to verapamil. Your doctor may ask you to check your pulse (heart rate) daily and will tell you how fast it should be. If your pulse is slower than it should be, call your doctor for directions on taking verapamil that day. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to teach you how to check your pulse. The extended-release tablet (Covera) does not dissolve in the stomach after being swallowed. It slowly releases medicine as it passes through the small intestines. It is not unusual to see the tablet shell eliminated in the stool. Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
More information: Verapamil