verapamil (generic name)

Calan (brand name)

It affects the amount of calcium found in your heart and muscle cells
(ver AP a mil)
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What is this medicine?

VERAPAMIL (ver AP a mil) is a calcium-channel blocker. It affects the amount of calcium found in your heart and muscle cells. This relaxes your blood vessels, which can reduce the amount of work the heart has to do. This medicine is used to treat chest pain caused by angina, high blood pressure, and controls heart rate in certain conditions.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
  • heart or blood vessel disease
  • heart rhythm disturbances such as sick sinus syndrome, ventricular arrhythmias, Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, or Lown-Ganong-Levine syndrome
  • liver or kidney disease
  • low blood pressure
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to verapamil, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

Take this medicine by mouth with a glass of water. Follow the directions on the prescription label. This medicine can be taken with or without food. Take your doses at regular intervals. Do not take your medicine more often than directed.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.

What may interact with this medicine?

Do not take this medicine with any of the following:
  • cisapride
  • disopyramide
  • dofetilide
  • grapefruit juice
  • hawthorn
  • pimozide
  • red yeast rice

This medicine may also interact with the following medications:

  • barbiturates such as phenobarbital
  • cimetidine
  • cyclosporine
  • lithium
  • local anesthetics or general anesthetics
  • medicines for heart rhythm problems like amiodarone, digoxin, flecainide, procainamide, quinidine
  • medicines for high blood pressure or heart problems
  • medicines for seizures like carbamazepine and phenytoin
  • rifampin, rifabutin or rifapentine
  • theophylline or aminophylline

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

Check your blood pressure and pulse rate regularly. Ask your doctor or health care professional what your blood pressure and pulse rate should be and when you should contact him or her. Do not suddenly stop taking this medicine. Ask your doctor or health care professional how to gradually reduce the dose.

You may get drowsy or dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs mental alertness until you know how this medicine affects you. Do not stand or sit up quickly, especially if you are an older patient. This reduces the risk of dizzy or fainting spells. Alcohol may interfere with the effect of this medicine. Avoid alcoholic drinks.

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?

Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
  • difficulty breathing
  • dizziness or light headedness
  • fainting
  • fast heartbeat, palpitations, irregular heartbeat, or chest pain
  • skin rash
  • slow heartbeat
  • swelling of the legs or ankles

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • constipation
  • facial flushing
  • headache
  • nausea, vomiting
  • sexual dysfunction
  • weakness or tiredness

Where should I keep my medicine?

Keep out of the reach of children.

Store at room temperature between 15 and 25 degrees C (59 and 77 degrees F). Protect from light. Keep container tightly closed. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Last Updated: September 14, 2009
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