What is Diltiazem HCl?

Maggie J. Hall

Diltiazem HCL belongs to a group of medications known as calcium channel blockers, which physicians might prescribe for the treatment of angina or high blood pressure. The action of the medication primarily affects cardiac and smooth muscle, resulting in the relaxation of the targeted tissue. Adverse reactions as a result of the relaxation, ranging from mild to life threatening, can occur. Health care providers may also recommend various lifestyle changes in addition to prescribing medication for high blood pressure treatment.

Angina pectoris is caused by a lack of oxygen circulating through the heart.
Angina pectoris is caused by a lack of oxygen circulating through the heart.

Physicians believe diltiazem HCL slows or prevents calcium ions from flowing into cardiac and smooth muscle cells, which include vascular tissue. The cellular response to this action is typically inhibition of contraction or constriction. Angina pectoris and the associated chest pain is usually caused by a lack of oxygen circulating through the heart. This situation generally occurs because of vascular spasms or insufficient oxygen supplied during physical activity. Relaxing the cardiac blood vessels improves blood flow, providing an increased amount of oxygen and relieving symptoms.

Diltiazem HCl may be presribed for high blood pressure.
Diltiazem HCl may be presribed for high blood pressure.

Hypertension occurs for a number of reasons. Excess blood volume may apply pressure to the interior of vessel walls, the blood vessel walls might become abnormally thickened, or various chemicals and enzymes could cause the blood vessels to constrict. Diltiazem HCL relaxes the smooth muscle layer of blood vessels, releasing internal pressure and lowering blood pressure. Health care providers might prescribe various types of medications simultaneously depending on the circumstances causing the hypertension.

Hypertension that is not managed adequately can lead to kidney failure or stroke.
Hypertension that is not managed adequately can lead to kidney failure or stroke.

Dosages of diltiazem HCL vary, depending on the type and seriousness of the particular condition being treated. Blood pressure and pulse are generally monitored by physicians and patients to ensure the effectiveness of treatment. Physicians also recommend that patients report any possible adverse reactions noticed while taking diltiazem HCL.

Diltiazem HCL relaxes the smooth muscle layer of blood vessels, releasing internal pressure and lowering blood pressure.
Diltiazem HCL relaxes the smooth muscle layer of blood vessels, releasing internal pressure and lowering blood pressure.

Common adverse effects associated with diltiazem HCL include headache and dizziness caused by blood vessel dilation. The medication also affects the smooth muscle of the stomach and intestines, which might cause abdominal discomfort or constipation. Effects that are more serious may occur when the medication interferes with the heart’s conduction pathways. Diltiazem HCL impedes calcium ion flow into the particular cells that regulate these electrical impulses. This interference with the sinoatrial and atrioventricular nodes can produce varying degrees of heart blockage.

Depending on the causes and the severity of the angina or hypertensive condition, patients might also be required to take diuretics, cholesterol-controlling agents, or other hypertension medications. Health care providers may suggest dietary modifications if high fat and sodium levels are factors. Patients are usually encouraged to maintain a healthy weight and increase the amount of aerobic exercise they receive.

Diltiazem HCl can relieve the chest pain of angina pectoris.
Diltiazem HCl can relieve the chest pain of angina pectoris.

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Discussion Comments

fify

I've been on diltiazem for several years for high blood pressure and it's working great for me. I don't have any side effects and my blood pressure is always in the normal range.

I know that other people who are on the drug are not as lucky. Some people experience diltiazem side effects like dizziness, fatigue and digestive problems. I think people with dizziness and low blood pressure need to see their doctor. A dose adjustment might do the trick in these cases. I'm not a doctor or expert, this is just my opinion.

turquoise

@SarahGen-- The topical version of diltiazem may cause itchin, but the oral tablets won't unless you're allergic. If you also experience swelling or difficulty breathing, you need to go to a hospital right away.

Topical diltiazem is used for anal fissures and often causes itching where it's applied. The tablet medication is used for high blood pressure and it may cause dizziness, heart palpitations or low blood pressure.

You should read your medication information before starting a new drug to know what types of side effects may occur.

SarahGen

I'm on diltiazem hydrochloride for hypertension. I've been taking it for a few days and today, I have a lot of itching. I don't think that the two are related but I wanted to make sure. Has anyone experienced itching as a side effect while on diltiazem?

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