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Verapamil is used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure), angina (chest pain), and certain heart rhythm disorders. Verapamil is in a group of drugs called calcium channel blockers. It works by relaxing the muscles of your heart and blood vessels.
Verapamil inhibits voltage-dependent calcium channels. Specifically, its effect on L-type calcium channels in the heart causes a reduction in ionotropy and chronotropy, thus reducing heart rate and blood pressure. Verapamil's mechanism of effect in cluster headache is thought to be linked to its calcium-channel blocker effect, but which channel subtypes are involved is presently not known
How to take
Take Verapamil exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.
Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results.
Do not crush, chew, break, or open an extended-release Verapamil tablet or capsule. Swallow it whole. Breaking or opening the Verapamil pill may cause too much of the drug to be released at one time.
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to Verapamil: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:
- fast or slow heartbeats;
- feeling like you might pass out;
- fever, sore throat, and headache with a severe blistering, peeling, and red skin rash;
- restless muscle movements in your eyes, tongue, jaw, or neck;
- feeling short of breath, even with mild exertion;
- swelling, rapid weight gain; or
- nausea, stomach pain, low fever, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
Less serious Verapamil side effects may include:
- constipation, nausea;
- skin rash or itching;
- dizziness, headache, tired feeling; or
- warmth, itching, redness, or tingly feeling under your skin.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur.
Verapamil may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert.
You should not use Verapamil if you are allergic to it, or if you have certain serious heart conditions such as "sick sinus syndrome" or "AV block" (unless you have a pacemaker), low blood pressure, or if you have recently had a heart attack.
Avoid getting up too fast from a sitting or lying position, or you may feel dizzy. Get up slowly and steady yourself to prevent a fall.
Drinking alcohol can further lower your blood pressure and may increase certain side effects of Verapamil.
Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may interact with Generic verapamil and lead to potentially dangerous effects. Discuss the use of grapefruit products with your doctor.
Many drugs can interact with Verapamil. Below is just a partial list. Tell your doctor if you are using:
- buspirone (BuSpar);
- cimetidine (Tagamet);
- Generic Clonidine (Catapres, Clorpres, Kapvay, Nexiclon) or any other blood pressure medications;
- cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune);
- digoxin (digitalis, Lanoxin, Lanoxicaps);
- lithium (Eskalith, LithoBid);
- lovastatin (Mevacor, Advicor) or simvastatin (Zocor, Simcor, Vytorin);
- theophylline (Elixophyllin, Theo-24, Uniphyl);
- an antibiotic such as clarithromycin (Biaxin), erythromycin (E-Mycin, EryPed, E.E.S., Ery-Tab, Erythrocin), rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane, Rifater), or telithromycin (Ketek);
- an antifungal medication such as fluconazole (Diflucan), itraconazole (Sporanox), ketoconazole (Nizoral), or voriconazole (Vfend);
- a beta-blocker such as atenolol (Tenormin), bisoprolol (Zebeta, Ziac), metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol), propranolol (Inderal, InnoPran), sotalol (Betapace), timolol (Blocadren), and others;
- cancer medicine such as cisplatin (Platinol), cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan, Neosar), doxorubicin (Adriamycin), paclitaxel (Taxol), procarbazine (Matulane), vincristine (Oncovin), or vinorelbine (Navelbine);
- cholesterol-lowering drugs such as atorvastatin (Lipitor, Caduet), lovastatin (Mevacor, Altoprev, Advicor), or simvastatin (Zocor, Simcor, Vytorin, Juvisync)
- a heart rhythm medication such as amiodarone (Cordarone, Pacerone), disopyramide (Norpace), flecainide (Tambocor), or quinidine (Quin-G);
- HIV/AIDS medicine such as Generic Atazanavir (Reyataz), delavirdine (Rescriptor), fosamprenavir (Lexiva), indinavir (Crixivan), nelfinavir (Viracept), or ritonavir (Norvir, Kaletra);
- a sedative such as midazolam (Versed) or triazolam (Halcion); or
- seizure medication such as carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Equetro, Tegretol) or phenobarbital (Solfoton).
This list is not complete and other drugs may interact with Verapamil.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
Store Verapamil at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.
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