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All about: Calan Tablets

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Generic Name: Verapamil Immediate-Release Tablets (ver-AP-a-mil)
Brand Name: Calan

Calan is used for:

Treating high blood pressure and chronic stable angina (chest pain). It may be used alone or with other medicines. It is also used for treating and preventing supraventricular tachycardia (a rhythm disturbance of the heart) and for controlling heart rate response to other rhythm disturbances, specifically atrial fibrillation and a trial flutter. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Calan is a calcium channel blocker. It works by relaxing (dilating) your blood vessels, lowering blood pressure, and decreasing heart rate, which lowers the workload on the heart. It also dilates coronary arteries, increasing blood flow to the heart. It also works by slowing the electrical conduction in the heart, slowing heart rate, and/or normalizing heart rhythm.

Calcium channel blockers do not affect calcium levels in the blood or calcium in the bones.

Do NOT use Calan if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in Calan
  • you have certain heart problems (eg, sick sinus syndrome or second- or third-degree heart block and do not have a pacemaker); or very low blood pressure
  • you have atrial fibrillation or flutter and a pre-excitation syndrome (extra conduction pathway in the heart), such as Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome (WPW) or Lown-Ganong-Levine syndrome (LGL)
  • you are taking dofetilide or eletriptan

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Before using Calan:

Some medical conditions may interact with Calan. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have heart failure or a recent heart attack with lung congestion; low blood pressure; heart problems, including a very slow heart rate or heart valve disease
  • if you have kidney or liver disease, muscular dystrophy, or neurologic disease

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Calan. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Beta-blockers (eg, propranolol), disopyramide, ketolides (eg, telithromycin), or macrolides (eg, erythromycin) because the actions and side effects of Calan, some potentially life-threatening, may be increased
  • Rifampin because it may decrease Calan's effectiveness
  • Aldosterone blockers (eg, spironolactone), beta-blockers (eg, propranolol), carbamazepine, digoxin, dofetilide, eletriptan, erythromycin, flecainide, HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (eg, simvastatin), lithium, nondepolarizing muscle relaxants (eg, atracurium), quinazolines (eg, metolazone), quinidine, or theophyllines (eg, aminophylline) because the actions and side effects, some potentially life-threatening, may be increased by Calan

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if Calan may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use Calan:

Use Calan as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Take Calan by mouth with or without food.
  • Do not eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice while you use Calan.
  • If you miss a dose of Calan, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Calan.

Important safety information:

  • Calan may cause dizziness or lightheadedness. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use Calan with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • Do not drink alcohol or use medicines that may cause drowsiness (eg, sleep aids, muscle relaxers) while you are using Calan; it may add to their effects. Ask your pharmacist if you have questions about which medicines may cause drowsiness.
  • Calan may cause dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting; alcohol, hot weather, exercise, or fever may increase these effects. To prevent them, sit up or stand slowly, especially in the morning. Sit or lie down at the first sign of any of these effects.
  • Patients who take medicine for high blood pressure often feel tired or run down for a few weeks after starting treatment. Be sure to take your medicine even if you may not feel "normal." Tell your doctor if you develop any new symptoms.
  • Lab tests, including liver function, kidney function, complete blood cell count, and blood pressure may be performed while you use Calan. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Use Calan with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects.
  • Calan should not be used in CHILDREN; safety and effectiveness in children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using Calan while you are pregnant. Calan is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking Calan.

Possible side effects of Calan:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Constipation; dizziness; fatigue; headache; lightheadedness; nausea.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); chest pain; lightheadedness, especially upon standing; severe dizziness; shortness of breath; swelling of feet or hands; unusually fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions or need medical advice about side effects, contact your doctor or health care provider. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 (1-800-332-1088) or at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center (http://www.aapcc.org/findyour.htm), or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include decreased mental status; dizziness; loss of consciousness; shortness of breath; slow or irregular heartbeat.

Proper storage of Calan:

Store Calan between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C). Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep Calan out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about Calan, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Calan is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.

This information is a summary only. It does not contain all information about Calan. If you have questions about the medicine you are taking or would like more information, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.

Issue Date: September 5, 2007
Database Edition 07.3.1.003
Copyright © 2007 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

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