Cartia XT

Generic Name: Diltiazem

  • What is this medication and its most common uses?

    Cartia XT is a medicine known as a calcium channel blocker, which is used alone or in combination with other medicines, to treat high blood pressure and angina (chest pain).

  • What should I know when beginning and continuing on this medication?

    How does this medication work?

    Cartia XT is an extended-release medicine, which releases medicine into your body throughout the day. Cartia XT lowers blood pressure by relaxing your blood vessels, which allows your blood to flow through with less resistance. Cartia XT also helps to reduce chest pain by increasing the supply of oxygen delivered to your heart and reducing the workload of your heart.

    What are the beneficial effects of this medication and when should I begin to have results?

    What: By lowering your blood pressure, Cartia XT may lower your risk of a stroke or a heart attack. Cartia XT may help manage your symptoms of chest pain. Also, it is taken just once a day, which may make it easier for you to remember.

    When: Cartia XT may lower your blood pressure within 14 days. Though you may not feel an improvement or change in the way you feel, it is very important to keep taking your medicine as prescribed to keep your condition under control.

    How do I know it is working?

    Check your blood pressure regularly. Your healthcare provider will also check your blood pressure and your symptoms at every visit. Following an appropriate diet and exercise plan will also affect your blood pressure results.

  • What are the possible side effects of this medication?

    The following is not a full list of side effects. Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Only your healthcare provider can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this medication.

    More common side effects may include: headache, dizziness, slow heartbeat, swelling, weakness, flushing, nausea, rash.

    Less common side effects may include:

    Risk of having a very slow heart rate, worsened congestive heart failure (a condition in which the heart cannot pump enough blood throughout the body), low blood pressure, or liver injury.

    Skin reactions (such as petechiae [tiny, pinpoint, red dots], light sensitivity, itching, or hives) can occur with Cartia XT and can disappear.

  • Who should not take this medication?

    Do not take Cartia XT if you are allergic to it or any of its ingredients.

    Do not take Cartia XT if you have low blood pressure.

    Do not take Cartia XT if you have sick sinus syndrome (abnormal heart rhythm) or a heart block, unless you have a pacemaker.

    Do not take Cartia XT if you have recently had a heart attack and lung congestion (a buildup of fluid in the lungs).

  • What should I tell my healthcare provider before I take the first dose of this medication?

    Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Cartia XT. Also, talk to your healthcare provider about your complete medical history, especially if you have heart problems (such as heart failure or abnormal heart rhythms), kidney or liver disease, low blood pressure, a recent history of heart attack, or if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

    Also, talk to your healthcare provider about any planned surgeries or procedures.

  • What is the usual dosage?

    The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your healthcare provider uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your healthcare provider may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your healthcare provider's approval.

    High Blood Pressure

    Adults: The usual starting dose is 180-240 milligrams (mg) once a day. Your healthcare provider may adjust your dose as needed, until the desired effect is achieved.

    Angina

    Adults: The usual starting dose is 120 or 180 mg once a day. Your healthcare provider may adjust your dose as needed, until the desired effect is achieved.

  • How should I take this medication?

    Take Cartia XT exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider.

  • What should I avoid while taking this medication?

    Do not change your dose or stop taking Cartia XT without first talking to your healthcare provider.

  • What are the possible food and drug interactions associated with this medication?

    If Cartia XT is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your healthcare provider before combining Cartia XT with the following: blood pressure/heart medications known as beta-blockers (such as atenolol or propranolol), buspirone, carbamazepine, cholesterol-lowering medications known as statins (such as lovastatin or simvastatin), cimetidine, clonidine, cyclosporine, digoxin, midazolam, quinidine, rifampin, or triazolam.

  • May I receive this medication if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    The effects of Cartia XT during pregnancy are unknown. Cartia XT can be found in your breast milk if you take it while breastfeeding. Do not take Cartia XT while you are breastfeeding. Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of this medication?

    If you miss a dose of Cartia XT, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and return to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take two doses at once.

  • How should I store this medication?

    Store at room temperature. Protect from light and humidity.