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Where is Verapamil used?

Verapamil is a prescription medicine used for the treatment of hypertension or also known as high blood pressure. Lowering high blood pressure helps prevent kidney problems, strokes, or heart attacks. This can also be used for the treatment of certain types of abnormal heartbeats and some types of chest pain. This treatment may be used alone or in combination with other medications for hypertension.

This belongs to a class of drugs known as calcium channel blockers. This helps to relax the blood vessels so blood can flow more easily. This is available for oral administration in film-coated tablets that contain 40 mg, 80 mg, and 120 mg of Verapamil. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved this treatment.  

How does Verapamil work?

Verapamil is a calcium ion influx inhibitor or calcium ion antagonist. It applies its pharmacologic effects by moderating the inflow of ionic calcium. It is across the cell membrane of the arterial smooth muscle as well as in contractile and conductile myocardial cells.

This medicine exerts antihypertensive effects by lessening systemic vascular resistance. It is usually reflex tachycardia or without orthostatic decreases in blood pressure. During dynamic or isometric exercise, Verapamil does not alter systolic cardiac function in patients with normal ventricular function. This also does not change total serum calcium levels. Even though, one report suggested that calcium levels above the normal range may alter the therapeutic effect of this medicine.

How is Verapamil taken?

The recommended dose for this medication depends on your condition and response. This medication is to be taken by mouth, usually 3 to 4 times a day. You may take this with or without food. Use this regularly to get the most benefit of it. To avoid some complications, follow your doctor’s prescription carefully. Do not stop or change the prescribed dosage.

What are the possible side effects of Verapamil?

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Constipation
  • Slow heartbeat
  • Nausea
  • Tiredness
  • Itching or skin rash
  • Flushing (itching, warmth, redness, or tingly feeling under your skin)

Call your doctor right away if these happen:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Dark urine
  • Unusual tiredness
  • Unexplained or sudden weight gain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fainting
  • Stomach pain
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes

What are the precautions in taking Verapamil?

  • Do not use this medication longer than prescribed.
  • Let your doctor know if you have any medical history or current medications including vitamins or herbal products.
  • Consult your doctor first if you are pregnant or breastfeeding women.
  • Your blood pressure will need to be checked frequently. Your liver function may also need to be checked.
  • Do not take this medication if you have a serious heart condition such as AV block or sick sinus syndrome, slow heartbeats, severe heart failure, Lown-Ganong-Levine syndrome, Wolff-Parkinson-White that have caused you to faint.
  • If you need surgery, tell the doctor ahead of time that you take this medicine.
  • If you have high blood pressure, keep using this medication even if you feel well. High blood pressure usually has no symptoms. You may need to use blood pressure medication for the rest of your life.