What is verapamil
is in a class of drugs called calcium channel blockers. Verapamil
relaxes (widens) blood vessels (veins and arteries), which
makes it easier for the heart to pump and reduces its workload.
is used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure), to treat
angina (chest pain), and to control some types of irregular
may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this
General medical information about verapamil
Do not stop taking this medication without first
talking to your doctor. If you stop taking the medication,
your condition could become worse.
Do not crush,
chew, or break extended-release forms of verapamil such
as generic Covera-HS and Verelan PM. Swallow them whole.
Generic verapamil SR, Isoptin SR, and Calan SR may be divided
in half but should not be crushed or chewed.
What you should find out before taking verapamil Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you have:
- kidney or liver disease;
diseases of the heart or blood vessels such as sick sinus
syndrome, aortic stenosis, heart failure, heart block, Wolff-Parkinson-White
syndrome, coronary artery disease, or low blood pressure;
- muscular dystrophy.
You may not be able
to take verapamil, or you may require a dosage adjustment
or special monitoring during treatment if you have any of
the conditions listed above.
Verapamil is in the
FDA pregnancy category C. This means that it is not known
whether verapamil will be harmful to an unborn baby. Do
not take verapamil without first talking to your doctor
if you are pregnant or could become pregnant during treatment.
Verapamil passes into breast milk and may harm a
nursing infant. Do not take verapamil without first talking
to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
How should take verapamil Take verapamil exactly as directed by your doctor.
If you do not understand these directions, ask your pharmacist,
nurse, or doctor to explain them to you.
dose with a full glass of water.
PM, Calan, Isoptin, Covera-HS, and generic forms of regular-release
verapamil can be taken with or without food. Taking the
medication with food may reduce stomach upset if it occurs.
Calan SR, Isoptin SR, and generic sustained-release
verapamil (verapamil SR) may be more likely to cause stomach
upset and should be taken with food to reduce this side
Take Covera-HS and Verelan PM at bedtime.
If you have trouble swallowing the Verelan pellet-filled
capsules, they can be opened and the contents can be sprinkled
onto cold, soft food such as applesauce. This mixture must
be swallowed without chewing. Use the mixture immediately.
Do not save it for later use. (Do not use this procedure
for the Verelan PM capsules.)
Do not crush, chew,
or break extended-release forms of verapamil such as Covera-HS
and Verelan PM. Swallow them whole. Generic verapamil SR,
Isoptin SR, and Calan SR may be divided in half if the tablets
are scored, but should not be crushed or chewed.
If you are taking Covera-HS, do not be concerned if you
What looks like an undissolved tablet in your stool.
This medication is formulated with an outer shell that does
not dissolve. This shell allows the medicine to be released
slowly into your body before it is passed out in the stool.
It is important to take verapamil regularly to get
the most benefit.
Do not stop taking this medication
without first talking to your doctor. If you stop taking
the medication, your condition could become worse.
Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may interact with verapamil.
The interaction could lead to potentially dangerous effects.
Discuss the use of grapefruit and grapefruit juice with
your doctor. Do not increase or decrease the amount of grapefruit
products in your diet without first talking to your doctor.
Your doctor may want you to have blood tests, blood
pressure monitoring, or other medical evaluations during
treatment with verapamil to monitor progress and side effects.
Store verapamil at room temperature away from moisture
If you miss a dose: Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. However,
if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed
dose and take only the next regularly scheduled dose. Do
not take a double dose of this medication.
What happens if you overdose: Seek emergency medical attention.
of a verapamil overdose include dizziness, weakness, chest
pain, shortness of breath, fainting, an unusually fast or
slow heartbeat, coma, slurred speech, and confusion.
Avoid while taking verapamil Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may interact with
verapamil. The interaction could lead to potentially dangerous
effects. Discuss the use of grapefruit and grapefruit juice
with your doctor. Do not increase or decrease the amount
of grapefruit products in your diet without first talking
to your doctor.
Avoid the use alcohol. Alcohol may
further lower blood pressure and increase drowsiness and
dizziness while taking verapamil.
Follow any recommendations
your doctor makes about diet or exercise.
Possible side effects of verapamil If you experience any of the following serious side
effects, stop taking verapamil and contact your doctor immediately
or seek emergency medical treatment:
- an allergic
reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of the throat; swelling
of the lips, tongue, or face; or hives);
- an unusually
fast or slow heartbeat;
- shortness of breath (heart
- abnormal behavior
- jaundice (yellowing of the skin or
- swelling of the legs or ankles.
Other, less serious side effects may be more likely to occur.
Continue to take verapamil and talk to your doctor if you
- unusual headache, fatigue, or tiredness;
- insomnia or trouble sleeping;
- vivid dreams;
- hair loss;
- nausea or diarrhea; or
Side effects other than those
listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any
side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.
What other drugs will affect verapamil Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if
you are taking any of the following drugs:
- cimetidine (Tagamet, Tagamet
- carbamazepine (Tegretol, Carbatrol);
lithium (Lithobid, Eskalith, others);
(Theo-Dur, Theochron, Theolair, Theobid, Elixophyllin, Slo-Phyllin,
- rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane);
phenobarbital (Luminal, Solfoton);
- an HMG CoA reductase
inhibitor such as atorvastatin (Lipitor), lovastatin (Mevacor),
simvastatin (Zocor), and others; or
- another heart
medication such as propranolol (Inderal), metoprolol (Lopressor,
Toprol XL), atenolol (Tenormin), digoxin (Lanoxin), quinidine
(Quinora, Quinidex, Quinaglute), flecainide (Tambocor),
disopyramide (Norpace), captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec),
You may not be able to take verapamil,
or you may require a dosage adjustment or special monitoring
if you are taking any of the medicines listed above.
other than those listed here may also interact with verapamil
or affect your condition. Talk to your doctor and pharmacist
before taking any prescription or over-the-counter medicines,
including vitamins, minerals, and herbal products.