- Cardiac Conduction. Diltiazem prolongs AV nodal conduction and refractoriness that may rarely result in second- or third-degree AV block in sinus rhythm. Concomitant use of diltiazem with agents known to affect cardiac conduction may result in additive effects (see Drug Interactions). If high-degree AV block occurs in sinus rhythm, intravenous diltiazem should be discontinued and appropriate supportive measures instituted (see OVERDOSAGE).
- Congestive Heart Failure. Although diltiazem has a negative inotropic effect in isolated animal tissue preparations, hemodynamic studies in humans with normal ventricular function and in patients with a compromised myocardium, such as severe CHF, acute MI, and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, have not shown a reduction in cardiac index nor consistent negative effects on contractility (dp/dt). Administration of oral diltiazem in patients with acute myocardial infarction and pulmonary congestion documented by x-ray on admission is contraindicated. Experience with the use of diltiazem hydrochloride injection in patients with impaired ventricular function is limited. Caution should be exercised when using the drug in such patients.
- Hypotension. Decreases in blood pressure associated with diltiazem hydrochloride injection therapy may occasionally result in symptomatic hypotension (3.2%). The use of intravenous diltiazem for control of ventricular response in patients with supraventricular arrhythmias should be undertaken with caution when the patient is compromised hemodynamically. In addition, caution should be used in patients taking other drugs that decrease peripheral resistance, intravascular volume, myocardial contractility or conduction.
- Acute Hepatic Injury. In rare instances, significant elevations in enzymes such as alkaline phosphatase, LDH, SGOT, SGPT, and other phenomena consistent with acute hepatic injury have been noted following oral diltiazem. Therefore, the potential for acute hepatic injury exists following administration of intravenous diltiazem.
- Ventricular Premature Beats (VPBs). VPBs may be present on conversion of PSVT to sinus rhythm with diltiazem hydrochloride injection. These VPBs are transient, are typically considered to be benign, and appear to have no clinical significance. Similar ventricular complexes have been noted during cardioversion, other pharmacologic therapy, and during spontaneous conversion of PSVT to sinus rhythm.
Diltiazem hydrochloride is extensively metabolized by the liver and excreted by the kidneys and in bile. The drug should be used with caution in patients with impaired renal or hepatic function (see WARNINGS). High intravenous dosages (4.5 mg/kg tid) administered to dogs resulted in significant bradycardia and alterations in AV conduction. In subacute and chronic dog and rat studies designed to produce toxicity, high oral doses of diltiazem were associated with hepatic damage. In special subacute hepatic studies, oral doses of 125 mg/kg and higher in rats were associated with histological changes in the liver, which were reversible when the drug was discontinued. In dogs, oral doses of 20 mg/kg were also associated with hepatic changes; however, these changes were reversible with continued dosing.
Dermatologic events progressing to erythema multiforme and/or exfoliative dermatitis have been infrequently reported following oral diltiazem. Therefore, the potential for these dermatologic reactions exists following exposure to intravenous diltiazem. Should a dermatologic reaction persist, the drug should be discontinued.
As with all drugs, care should be exercised when treating patients with multiple medications. Diltiazem is both a substrate and an inhibitor of the cytochrome P-450 3A4 enzyme system. Other drugs that are specific substrates, inhibitors, or inducers of this enzyme system may have a significant impact on the efficacy and side effect profile of diltiazem. Patients taking other drugs that are substrates of CYP450 3A4, especially patients with renal and/or hepatic impairment, may require dosage adjustment when starting or stopping concomitantly administered diltiazem in order to maintain optimum therapeutic blood levels.
The depression of cardiac contractility, conductivity, and automaticity as well as the vascular dilation associated with anesthetics may be potentiated by calcium channel blockers. When used concomitantly, anesthetics and calcium blockers should be titrated carefully.
Studies showed that diltiazem increased the AUC of midazolam and triazolam by 3- to 4-fold and Cmax by 2-fold, compared to placebo. The elimination half-life of midazolam and triazolam also increased (1.5- to 2.5-fold) during coadministration with diltiazem. These pharmacokinetic effects seen during diltiazem coadministration can result in increased clinical effects (e.g., prolonged sedation) of both midazolam and triazolam.
Intravenous diltiazem has been administered to patients on chronic oral beta-blocker therapy. The combination of the two drugs was generally well tolerated without serious adverse effects. If intravenous diltiazem is administered to patients receiving chronic oral beta-blocker therapy, the possibility for bradycardia, AV block, and/or depression of contractility should be considered (see CONTRAINDICATIONS). Oral administration of diltiazem with propranolol in five normal volunteers resulted in increased propranolol levels in all subjects and bioavailability of propranolol was increased approximately 50%. In vitro, propranolol appears to be displaced from its binding sites by diltiazem.
In nine healthy subjects, diltiazem significantly increased the mean buspirone AUC 5.5-fold and Cmax 4.1-fold compared to placebo. The T1/2 and Tmax of buspirone were not significantly affected by diltiazem. Enhanced effects and increased toxicity of buspirone may be possible during concomitant administration with diltiazem. Subsequent dose adjustments may be necessary during coadministration, and should be based on clinical assessment.
Concomitant administration of oral diltiazem with carbamazepine has been reported to result in elevated plasma levels of carbamazepine (by 40 to 72%), resulting in toxicity in some cases. Patients receiving these drugs concurrently should be monitored for a potential drug interaction.
A study in six healthy volunteers has shown a significant increase in peak diltiazem plasma levels (58%) and area-under-the-curve (53%) after a 1-week course of cimetidine at 1200 mg per day and a single dose of diltiazem 60 mg. Ranitidine produced smaller, nonsignificant increases. The effect may be mediated by cimetidine's known inhibition of hepatic cytochrome P-450, the enzyme system responsible for the first-pass metabolism of diltiazem. Patients currently receiving diltiazem therapy should be carefully monitored for a change in pharmacological effect when initiating and discontinuing therapy with cimetidine. An adjustment in the diltiazem dose may be warranted.
Sinus bradycardia resulting in hospitalization and pacemaker insertion has been reported in association with the use of clonidine concurrently with diltiazem. Monitor heart rate in patients receiving concomitant diltiazem and clonidine.
A pharmacokinetic interaction between diltiazem and cyclosporine has been observed during studies involving renal and cardiac transplant patients. In renal and cardiac transplant recipients, a reduction of cyclosporine dose ranging from 15% to 48% was necessary to maintain cyclosporine trough concentrations similar to those seen prior to the addition of diltiazem. If these agents are to be administered concurrently, cyclosporine concentrations should be monitored, especially when diltiazem therapy is initiated, adjusted or discontinued.
The effect of cyclosporine on diltiazem plasma concentrations has not been evaluated.
Intravenous diltiazem has been administered to patients receiving either intravenous or oral digitalis therapy. The combination of the two drugs was well tolerated without serious adverse effects. However, since both drugs affect AV nodal conduction, patients should be monitored for excessive slowing of the heart rate and/or AV block.
Concurrent use of diltiazem increases exposure to ivabradine and may exacerbate bradycardia and conduction disturbances. Avoid concomitant use of ivabradine and diltiazem.
Diltiazem significantly increases the AUC(0→∞) of quinidine by 51%, T1/2 by 36% and decreases its CLoral by 33%. Monitoring for quinidine adverse effects may be warranted and the dose adjusted accordingly.
Coadministration of rifampin with diltiazem lowered the diltiazem plasma concentrations to undetectable levels. Coadministration of diltiazem with rifampin or any known CYP3A4 inducer should be avoided when possible, and alternative therapy considered.
Diltiazem is an inhibitor of CYP3A4 and has been shown to increase significantly the AUC of some statins. The risk of myopathy and rhabdomyolysis with statins metabolized by CYP3A4 may be increased with concomitant use of diltiazem. When possible, use a non-CYP3A4-metabolized statin together with diltiazem; otherwise, dose adjustments for both diltiazem and the statin should be considered along with close monitoring for signs and symptoms of any statin related adverse events.
In a healthy volunteer cross-over study (N = 10), coadministration of a single 20 mg dose of simvastatin at the end of a 14-day regimen with 120 mg BID diltiazem SR resulted in a 5-fold increase in mean simvastatin AUC versus simvastatin alone. Subjects with increased average steady-state exposures of diltiazem showed a greater-fold increase in simvastatin exposure. Computer-based simulations showed that at a daily dose of 480 mg of diltiazem, an 8- to 9-fold mean increase in simvastatin AUC can be expected. If coadministration of simvastatin with diltiazem is required, limit the daily doses of simvastatin to 10 mg and diltiazem to 240 mg.
In a ten-subject randomized, open label, 4-way cross-over study, coadministration of diltiazem (120 mg bid, diltiazem SR for 2 weeks) with a single 20 mg dose of lovastatin resulted in a 3- to 4-fold increase in mean lovastatin AUC and Cmax versus lovastatin alone. In the same study, there was no significant change in 20 mg single-dose pravastatin AUC and Cmax during diltiazem coadministration. Diltiazem plasma levels were not significantly affected by lovastatin or pravastatin.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility
A 24-month study in rats at oral dosage levels of up to 100 mg/kg/day and a 21-month study in mice at oral dosage levels of up to 30 mg/kg/day showed no evidence of carcinogenicity. There was also no mutagenic response in vitro or in vivo in mammalian cell assays or in vitro in bacteria. No evidence of impaired fertility was observed in a study performed in male and female rats at oral dosages of up to 100 mg/kg/day.
Reproduction studies have been conducted in mice, rats, and rabbits.
Administration of oral doses ranging from five to ten times greater (on a mg/kg basis) than the daily recommended oral antianginal therapeutic dose has resulted in embryo and fetal lethality. These doses, in some studies, have been reported to cause skeletal abnormalities. In the perinatal/postnatal studies there was some reduction in early individual pup weights and survival rates. There was an increased incidence of stillbirths at doses of 20 times the human oral antianginal dose or greater.
There are no well-controlled studies in pregnant women; therefore, use diltiazem hydrochloride in pregnant women only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.
Diltiazem is excreted in human milk. One report with oral diltiazem suggests that concentrations in breast milk may approximate serum levels. If use of diltiazem hydrochloride is deemed essential, an alternative method of infant feeding should be instituted.
Clinical studies of diltiazem did not include sufficient numbers of subjects aged 65 and over to determine whether they respond differently from younger subjects. Other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients. In general, dose selection for an elderly patient should be cautious, usually starting at the low end of the dosing range, reflecting the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac function, and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy.
Atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter
In clinical studies with diltiazem hydrochloride injection for AF/Fl, 135 of 257 patients were over 65 years of age. No overall differences in safety or effectiveness were observed between these patients and younger patients, and other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients, but greater sensitivity of some older individuals cannot be ruled out.
In subgroup analysis of double-blind and open-label trials following first-dose response, 116 patients over 65 years of age had a response rate of 84%. One hundred two (102) patients <65 had a response rate of 78%. In subgroup analysis following a two-dose procedure in double-blind and open-label studies, 104 patients over 65 years of age and 95 patients <65 both had a 95% response rate.
Paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia
Clinical studies of diltiazem hydrochloride injection for PSVT did not include sufficient numbers of patients aged 65 and over to determine whether they respond differently from younger patients. Other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients. In general, dose selection for an elderly patient should be cautious, usually starting at the low end of the dosing range, reflecting the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac function, and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy.
Diltiazem hydrochloride is extensively metabolized by the liver and excreted by the kidneys and in bile. The risk of toxic reactions to this drug may be greater in patients with impaired renal or hepatic function. Because elderly patients are more likely to have decreased renal function, care should be taken in dose selection, and it may be useful to monitor renal function. As with all drugs, care should be exercised when treating patients with multiple medications (see PRECAUTIONS, General, and Drug Interactions.)